This section describes Gretl’s arrival in England through the Kindertransport system and explains how she came to be placed with an English family.
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INT: When you arrived do you remember how you felt? Were you frightened or bewildered?
G.S: Well, yes. My sister was already here and we arrived at Liverpool Street Station and I remember there was a sort of barrier and my sister was standing there waving madly, but we were rushed away because I think that we had to catch a train to Coventry. And so I never even kissed my sister or greeted her or anything but the following, I think it must have been the following week, the following weekend, she came to visit me from London.
INT: And you were pleased to see her?
G.S: Of course!
INT: Did you feel lost and did you feel foreign at that time?
G.S: Yes, a bit yes, because my English was practically non-existent and my guardian couldn’t speak German. So it was difficult at first but it was such a wonderful household I went to – a fabulous woman.
INT: This is the lady that you eventually called your aunt?
G.S yes yes
INT: When you came to Britain and you arrived here, and you knew you were coming to a family did you know anything about the family at all?
G.S: I think I knew there were three sisters living together, all teachers – and that’s about it. Really the, the connection was made originally by a cousin of mine – Ilona, who used to go to Bielefeldt and, on holiday. I’m not quite sure whether, what she did there but maybe she took English people around, I don’t know. But she met there, the headmistress of that school I went to in Barrs Hill, Barrs Hill Grammar School, and this lady had said that she wanted to help somebody and she knew of somebody who wanted to help children out and my cousin Ilona had said ‘Well I’ve got a small cousin who needs to get out’. And this is how it all started. That’s how the names were exchanged.
INT: And this was the beginning?
INT: But there was a, it was a large movement, there were a lot of children who came out at that time
INT: Through the Quakers weren’t there?
G.S: Yes, over nine thousand children the Quakers took out. They arranged for.
INT: Did you speak any English at all?
G.S: I’d had one year at school – that’s all.
INT: So it was very limited?
G.S: Yes, very limited yes.
INT: What was the full name of your adopted aunt?
G.S: Margaret Kershaw Scholes and she came from Oldham in Lancashire
INT: And you kept your own name? Your own family name which was?
G.S: Yes. Marle
INT: And how do you spell that?
G.S: M-A-R-L-E accente aigue. It’s got an accent on it – it’s French
INT: And then, when you came here you just kept your name right through?
G.S: Yes, oh yes. Well no, when I married then I changed it.
INT: And you came first of all to Coventry
INT: And what date did you arrive in the UK?
G.S: On the 22nd of June 1939
INT: May I ask how old you were then?
INT: Fourteen. And.if there’s anything else I need. And you’ve been in Scotland since 1950? Is that right?
G.S: Yes, yes