Kindertransport and refugees in West Sussex

November 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, a British led programme which rescued over 10,000 Jewish children from Nazi persecution in Germany and annexed territories. The first trains arrived in Britain on 2nd December 1938 and the scheme continued until the outbreak of war in 1939.

Many of the transports arrived in Harwich and from there children with sponsors were sent to join their new foster families. Other children were housed in children’s’ homes or hostels until individual families could be found to care for them. One of the group homes was Wyberlye, Burgess Hill. A former convalescent home, it housed over 50 girls who arrived on the Kindertransport.

Girls rescued by the Kindertransport outside Wyberlye, c 1939

There are plans for a local project to commemorate the anniversary of the Kindertransport, looking specifically at how West Sussex responded to the desperate plight of refugees from Nazi Germany and occupied territories, particularly the children who arrived on the Kindertransport.

Wyberlye, Burgess Hill, early 20th century

The project planners are really keen to hear from anyone who has memories of refugees living and working in West Sussex between 1938-1945, particularly anyone who may have any memories of the following topics:

  • Do you remember Wyberlye, Burgess Hill, and the Kindertransport children who stayed there?
  • Did your family host a child from the Kindertransport or other refugee children?
  • Did you go to school with a child from Nazi-occupied Europe?
  • Were you or any of your family involved in the Worthing Refugee Committee or other local refugee committees?
  • Did your family take in any refugees as domestic servants?If you have any memories relating to refugees in West Sussex in the Second World War, please contact Lesley Urbach (

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