Eva Heller arrived at the Prague airport with her father, Ewald, and her brother, Holger, on January 12, 1939. She and 22 other children waved goodbye to their parents for the camera, then boarded a KLM plane bound for London on a Kindertransport organized by Sir Nicholas Winton. She would never live in Czechoslovakia again.
How do we know all of this about Eva Heller? In 2018, nearly 80 years after her journey, Eva recognized herself in this film in the Holocaust Museum’s online archive. She emailed the museum with the identities of her family members and fellow rescued children and shared memories about her life during the Nazi regime and as an unaccompanied child in England. “It was the first time that I saw my father crying. I must have cried too. But I don’t remember being worried or even sad,” Eva remembered about that day in January, 1939. “Strange that I wasn’t homesick. I suppose being surrounded with lots of new friends who spoke my two languages, Czech and German, I didn’t feel lonely.” Eva escaped the Holocaust on this Kindertransport. Sir Nicholas Winton (seen in this film holding a toddler) arranged the transport of at least 669 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia to England.
Eva was placed into the care of the Barbican Mission, which arranged for her to go to school. Holger joined Eva in England a few months later, as did their mother. Eva’s father, Ewald, fled to Peru and found work, and on the last boat out of Great Britain before the war started, the rest of the Heller family followed.
Eva married a fellow immigrant and settled down in Peru, where she still lives. She has three children, ten grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren.