Safe Haven

Safe Haven is a life size, bronze sculpture of five Kindertransport refugee children walking down a gangplank, completing their journey to Harwich just before the outbreak of the Second World War.


Each child is portrayed with a different emotion representing the storm of emotions they must have felt at the end of their journey by train and then ship. The figures are also engraved with quotes of four of the refugees describing their first experience of the UK.

“I felt I was safe.
A new life was beginning!”

Elsa Shamash


“A little girl cries and keeps repeating ‘Mutti Mutti’. I put my arm round her and tell her she’ll see her soon”.
Bea Green

“Everyone tried so hard to ease our ordeal and make us feel more at home”.
Bernard Grünberg

“The sun was shining, the air clean, the grass greener than I had ever seen it, and if ever freedom was a tangible thing, it was so that morning in Harwich”.
Rabbi John Rayner


Guests at the unveiling ceremony included more than 30 refugees who arrived on the Kindertransport in 1938 and 1939. Dame Stephanie Shirley, who was five years old when she arrived in Harwich on a Kindertransport, unveiled the memorial.

Safe Haven was unveiled on the Harwich Quayside, Thursday 1 September 2022.


The Kindertransport (Children’s Transport) was a unique humanitarian rescue programme which ran between November 1938 and September 1939. Approximately 10,000 children, the majority of whom were Jewish, were sent from their homes and families in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain.

Immediately after the Nazis came to power in 1933 the persecution of Jews began. This reached a pre-war peak with Kristallnacht (the ‘Night of the Broken Glass’) on 9/10 November 1938, when 267 synagogues were destroyed, 91 Jews were killed and 30,000 people were taken to concentration camps.

In response to this night of violence, British Home Secretary Sir Samuel Hoare agreed to speed up the immigration process by issuing travel documents on the basis of group lists rather than individual applications. Strict conditions were placed upon the entry of the children. Jewish and non-Jewish organisations funded the operation and had to ensure that none of the refugees would become a financial burden on the public. Every child had a guarantee of £50 to finance their eventual re-emigration. It was assumed at the time that the danger was temporary, and the children would return to their families when it was safe. Adult family members could not accompany the children.



  • Commissioned by the Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust Ltd
  • Cast and installed by Sculpture Services Ltd
  • Plinth casting and installation by Twenty Twelve Civils Ltd