Benno Black was one of 10,000 children evacuated to Britain during the “Kindertransport,” an effort to save Jewish children from what became the Holocaust. -- Tim Nelson/MPR News
Benno Black was one of 10,000 children evacuated to Britain during the “Kindertransport,” an effort to save Jewish children from what became the Holocaust. -- Tim Nelson/MPR News

Archived Story

St. Louis Park Holocaust survivor recalls his escape from Nazi Germany

Published 8:00pm Saturday, April 26, 2014

Benno Black saw his mother last out a train window in the city of Breslau one day in July, 1939. She’d put him on a train to escape the Nazis, as World War II and the Holocaust loomed.

“My father and his brother, my uncle, took me to the station,” Black recalled recently, from his home in St. Louis Park. “My mother told me it would be too hard for me to say goodbye at the station. She, is going to, together with my grandmother and my aunt … stand below on the street, just below the first viaduct, and as the train would pass over just having left the station at a slow speed, they would wave to me.”

They waved.

Within months, two of the women died in Theriesenstadt a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Black doesn’t know for sure about his mother but thinks she died on another German train, on the way to a Majdanek, a death camp in Poland, probably in 1942.

This Sunday starts Yom HaShoah, the Jewish memorial day for the estimated six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. Black and thousands of others are also marking the 75th anniversary of their escape from that tragedy. Their rescue, dubbed “Kindertransport,” sent thousands of children out of the Nazi’s grasp, some with only hours to spare.

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