The Holocaust Educational Trust is deeply saddened to learn of the loss of our friend Harry Bibring BEM.

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

“Harry Bibring BEM came to Britain on the Kindertransport with his sister in 1938, aged just 13. Sadly, he never saw his parents again. Harry’s father died of a heart attack and his mother was deported to the extermination camp Sobibór – where she was murdered. 

“Harry settled here, built a life and started a family. In later years, he travelled the country, sharing his testimony with thousands of young people. He wanted them to learn from the past. He was unstoppable!

“One of Harry’s proudest moments was taking part in our Stories from Willesden Lane project last year, where his experience as a Jewish child refugee was streamed into the classrooms of 8,000 London students. When the students later met him in person, they greeted him like a superstar – and he was.

“Up until the very end, Harry determinedly shared his testimony with such energy and vigour, which was so typical of him.

“Harry was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust family and we will miss him terribly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. We will do all we can to ensure his story and legacy continues to be shared across the country.”

Harry was born on 26th December 1925 in Vienna, Austria. He lived with his father Michael, mother Esther and his sister Gertie. He had a happy early childhood and enjoyed ice skating twice a week in Vienna with his friends. After the Anschluss in 1938, Harry’s non-Jewish friends stopped speaking with him and he was forced to leave his Gymnasium (grammar school). Harry was transferred to a basic secondary school that was designated to accommodate Jewish children.

On the night of 9th-10th November 1938, Harry’s father’s menswear business was looted and destroyed during Kristallnacht. His father was arrested and Harry’s family were forced to leave their flat and live in a house together with 50 other Jewish women and children. The family were allowed to return to their flat following Harry’s father’s release, but by this point they knew they had to leave Vienna.

Fearing for the safety of their children, Harry’s parents decided that 13 year old Harry and his sister should leave for Britain on the Kindertransport. When Harry and his sister arrived in England they were greeted by Mr Landsman, who Harry’s father had arranged to act as their sponsor, but it turned out there was no room for Harry and the two were separated. When war broke out on 3rd September 1939, Harry was evacuated to Fletton, near Peterborough, where he stayed with the headmaster of the local grammar school who offered him tremendous support.

After his 14th birthday, Harry returned to London. He started working for Mr Landsman in one of his shops as an errand boy. However, when he realised that there were no prospects for learning a profession, he procured an engineering apprenticeship.

In May 1945 Harry met his wife-to-be, Muriel and they married two years later. Harry later qualified as a chartered engineer with management qualifications. He went on to work for 20 years as a manufacturing engineer and then became a lecturer at a college. He had one son, Michael and two grandchildren, Lee and Nikki and two great-grandchildren, Rafi and Eli.

Harry devoted much of his life to sharing his story in the hope that others might learn from it, reaching tens of thousands of young people through the Trust's Outreach programme. You can watch his webcast from the Stories from Willesden Lane project here: