“My birth mother truly believed family takes care of one another, and she also believed in the goodness of others,” Holocaust survivor Esther Starobin wrote. “I know throughout my life, I have followed her beliefs in helping my family in times of difficulty as they have helped me. I must say, my belief in God comes not only from my birth mother but also from my foster mother. Through Dorothy, I came to appreciate the value of being part of a congregation and the community that comes with it … . Through both of these mothers, I came to understand family is not only made up of the people born into it, but also of others who serve as family.”
Esther was brought to England in 1939 at the age of two on the Kindertransport—the informal name of a series of rescue efforts that brought thousands of refugee Jewish children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1940. Esther lived with her foster parents, Dorothy and Harry Harrison, and foster brother, Alan, in Thorpe, England, for eight years and five months. They took her in after Harry responded to a flyer on his factory bulletin board advertising a need for foster families to take in refugee children. She became very much a part of the Harrison family. She remembers, “That was really the happiest time of my childhood. I was very happy there.”
Esther later learned that her birth parents, Katie and Adolf Rosenfeld, were murdered at Auschwitz in 1942. They managed to save all five of their children. Her three sisters, who were also rescued via the Kindertransport, lived in different parts of Great Britain and visited Esther at the Harrisons' home whenever possible. In 1947, Esther and her sisters joined their brother in the United States. From her new country, she wrote letters to the Harrisons and remained in touch with them over the years. #FosterCareMonth
Photo: Esther Starobin
October 22, 2020 By Esther R. Starobin I have been an orphan since August 14, 1942, but I have never thought of myself that way. At the May 14, 2019, meeting for Echoes of Memory, the survivor memoir writing group, I listened to two people read their wr...