Walter Kammerling BEM 1923 – 2021

The Holocaust Educational Trust is deeply saddened to learn of the loss of our dear friend Walter Kammerling BEM.

Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust said:

Walter arrived in Britain on the Kindertransport at the age of 15 after witnessing Kristallnacht in Vienna. His immediate family did not survive and were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Walter served in the British Army and built a successful and fruitful life in the UK. He dedicated his later years to travelling the length and breadth of the UK, sharing his testimony with students through the Trust’s Outreach Programme, ensuring that the human history of the Holocaust lives on. He was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Holocaust education and awareness in 2019.

He was a kind and gentle man and was a great supporter of our work. Not long ago, he travelled back to Northern Ireland with the Trust, to speak to post-16 students who have completed the Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project. The impact he had over the years is immeasurable and we will all remember him fondly.

Walter will be greatly missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Walter Kammerling BEM


Walter was born 1923 in Vienna. He was 14 when Nazi Germany occupied Austria in March 1938.

Walter witnessed the Kristallnacht pogrom on the night of 9th-10th November 1938, when Jewish synagogues, shops, businesses and homes were attacked and destroyed across Germany and Austria.

Walter’s parents decided to send him to Britain on the Kindertransport. The age limit for the Kindertransport was 16: Walter was 15 but his, sisters being 17 and 18, could not join him. The eldest managed to get a domestic permit and she arrived in Britain on 4th July 1939. The younger sister, however, had to stay in Vienna and was sent to Terezín (Theresienstadt) and subsequently to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Walter’s father was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 29th September 1944 and his mother and sister on 23rd October 1944. It was only after the war that Walter discovered his parents' and sister's fates.

When Walter arrived in Britain, he was sent to a camp for refugee children at Dovercourt in Essex, where he stayed until February 1939 when he was sent to a farm in Northern Ireland. Walter worked on the farm for 3 years. He had to report to the police, but as farming was a 'reserved occupation' (important for the war effort) he was not interned as other 'enemy aliens' were.

Walter joined the British Army in March 1944 and served in Belgium and the Netherlands later that year. Whilst on embarkation leave, Walter married Herta, who he met in London in 1942 and who had also came from Vienna on a Kindertransport. The couple returned to Austria in 1946 and had two sons. They later moved back to Britain in 1957.