Helping Children In Hard Times

“They have something out here called spring”!

The quote comes from a special exhibition at The Imperial War Museum in London. You could see letters from the evacuated children in display cases together with photos, pieces of clothes and toys that would help to comfort the children in the new surroundings.

 

 

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The museum is free in general but the special exhibitions has a fee. They have a nice café which is essential when the hours fly away at the place.

I have another post on this topic in the post Children Evacuated during the Second World War in England.

The evacuated children in Great Britain during WWII were a great number. nearly two million children were evacuated from the cities to the country in the start of the war and in very few days.

The administration and planning of all this must have been enormous as other life important issues had to be thought of in detail as distributing of gas masks and the use of it as well of how to handle the situation after a bomb raid. All those who were not serving at the front got tasks at the home front. Women took over the typical masculine jobs.

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Some children were sent overseas to Canada and the United States of America. In the show case was shown a homemade cork belt sown into a boy’s jacket. That belt saved the life of the boy as the ship was taken down by a German submarine and he was picked up from the water. His mother had told him to keep the jacket on night and day!

In Denmark we didn’t  evacuate the children during the war. The Jews had to get away very quickly from Denmark to Sweden in the autumn of 1943, when the Germans wanted to collect all the Jews also from Denmark and get rid of them once and for all. Our government was then out of function mainly due to objection to this order.

Some children were so small that they were in danger of screaming on this very dangerous escape route during a cold night and they were instead placed in with friends of the family or somebody who took the responsibility to help.

The small children who grow up with new families forgot their own parents and to be connected back to the biological family was doomed to fail and would cause a lot of sorrow for all parts.

Very many Finnish children were evacuated to the neutral Sweden and to Denmark during the war. Very few had happy lives because they never felt really at home in the new countries or back in Finland. The youngest children had forgotten their native language.

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At that time it was not yet common knowledge that children need to be informed about what is going to happen and to get help to talk about the feelings of loss.

For some it was a blessing and for many it meant loss of love and security not knowing any body and missing their parents and siblings immensely.

The front page from their brochure

 

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The front page from their brochure

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