About The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport

Violin-playing Peter, 11, escapes Nazi Germany on a train to England filled with just children, but after his Coventry farm is bombed, Peter now 17 returns to Germany to try to save his family and his childhood friend Eva and sabotage the Nazis with his new rebel friends.

The Children’s Train tells the story of a shy, violin-playing boy named Peter and his strong-willed sister Becca who escape Nazi Germany on a train to England filled with just children. After his Coventry farm is bombed, Peter decides you can’t run from hate, you have to face it. He returns to Germany to try to save his family and childhood friend Eva, and with the help of underground rebels, sabotage the Nazis.

The horrifying adventure unfolds from the viewpoint of the children and although fiction, the story is based on real events about the 10,000 children rescued on the 1939 Kindertransports, most of whom never saw their parents again, and the underground Jewish rebels that tried to sabotage the Nazi in their unsophisticated, but determined way. Being bold and determined was the only way to survive in a world where hatred surrounded you and death was around every corner.

Violin and music are Peter’s soul. His father was a great soccer playing before his legs were injured with shrapnel from World War I and he is disappointed that Peter is not a soccer player. But when he gives Peter a violin and tells him he must be who he is, it represents his father’s acceptance and the theme of the story.

After Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) in November of 1938, when Hitler’s people smashed Jewish store windows and arrested Jewish men, England was worried for the Jewish children. Parliament changed their immigration laws and arranged for a train called the Kindertransport, to take Jewish children out of Germany without their parents to safety in England.

The Children’s Train follows Peter, 11 and his sister Becca who is 6 and his friends who got a seat on the train. It also follows Eva who he has a crush on but thinks she could never see him as a boyfriend, and his other friends, including a friend with Downs Syndrome who did not take the Kindertransport.