Exhibition to visit Canterbury Cathedral

On Saturday January 27th 2024 Sandwich Town Council hosted a reception to launch the mobile exhibition ‘Leave to Land’. The exhibition, owned by The Wiener Holocaust Library, is currently on display at Sandwich Guildhall Museum and will be touring other venues in East Kent, including Canterbury Cathedral, until mid-March.

The exhibition ‘Leave to Land’ is about a refugee camp for nearly 4,000 Jewish men, all refugees from Germany and Austria, which was sited very close to Sandwich in 1939/40. The men lived in a one-time WW1 army camp known as the ‘Kitchener Camp’ just beyond the Sandwich Toll Bridge on the west side of the old Ramsgate Road. Many of them had come from early concentration camps.

Once war broke out large numbers of them enlisted in the unarmed section of the British Army, known as the Pioneer Corps, and the camp changed from being a refugee camp into a Pioneer Corps training camp. The exhibition consists of reproductions of letters, diaries, memoirs, and photos of the men who found refuge in Sandwich. These documents have been collected and put together by a descendant of one of the Kitchener men and collected from the many other descendants of Kitchener men who are now scattered across the world.

Professor Clare Ungerson, Deputy Mayor of Sandwich Town Council, and the author of the only history of the Kitchener Camp rescue (‘Four Thousand Lives’) said:

‘It is absolutely appropriate that this fascinating exhibition has come to Sandwich and will be travelling to other venues in East Kent. The official launch of the exhibition in Sandwich Guildhall is taking place on Holocaust Memorial Day which is held every year on January 27th – the day, in 1945, when Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated. The launch and reception will provide Sandwich with an opportunity to remember those who perished in the Holocaust but also mark the way in which the people of Sandwich contributed to the rescue, in 1939, of 4000 men who managed to get away’.

For more information:

  • Chloe Wheatley, Assistant Town Clerk, Sandwich Town Council: 01304 617197
  • Clare Ungerson, Deputy Mayor, and author of ‘Four Thousand Lives’: 01304 617801
  • Museum Coordinator, Sandwich Town Council: 01304 61719

By Ed

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