They called her Tante Anna

Posted: March 1, 2015 in Great Women Series

They called her Tante (Aunty) Anna          060 Anna Essinger a German Jewish Educator, fearing for the wellbeing of her pupils moved her Boarding School in 1933, from Herrlingen in Germany to Otterden in Kent in England. She undertook the journey with 66 of her students. There she established the Bunce Court School. Bunce School In November 1938, after the burning of the Synagogues in Germany Anna established a reception centre for Jewish Children leaving Germany, Austria and Hungry, at Dovercourt Bay Holiday camp near Harwich. Some 10 000 children arrived at that camp until the outbreak of World War II. Many of them just in the clothes they were wearing or carrying only a paper bag with their few belongings. The first arrivals were 194 children from a Jewish Orphanage in Berlin. This movement was later referred to as ‘The ‘Kindertransport’ For many of them Anna had to find foster homes. Some of the children she took with her to live at her school. Dovercourt bay Children at Dovercourt Camp With the outbreak of WWII Anna had to move again. Bunce School was in the defence area. She received 3 days’ notice to move on. She found Trench Hall, in Wem in Shropshire where she remained until 1946.  Anna taught children of all faiths and placed great importance on outside activities. Besides educating the normal classroom lessons her pupils were taught all aspects of life. Each child was expected to undertake tasks in the daily running of the school. Many of her children became important Scientists, Writers and Artists. The children themselves converted the stables at Trench Hall into sleeping areas. With the release of the first internees from the Isle of Man internment camps Anna needed the space in the main house for the new arrivals.        Trench Hall stables   Trench Hall stables In 1946 Anna was able to return to Bunce School in Kent. She continued teaching there and retired in 1948. Many said that Anna had finally run out of funds. Bunce School remained her home. Anna died in Bunce School in 1960 not knowing that one day she would be commemorated in Germany. Her story is told in the Museum in Herrlingen where her School was seized by the Nazis in 1934 and later given to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. This was the same house he left, driven by car, to commit his enforced suicide. Read about Anna, ‘her children’ and friends in Elisabeth Marrion’s new Historical Novel  ‘Cuckoo Clock-New York’ which will be released in the Summer of 2015. cuckoo clock This will be the third part of the trilogy subtitled ‘unbroken bonds.’ The first book in the series is Rommel       The Night I danced with Rommel followed by  Liverpool                    ‘Liverpool Connection’. Elisabeth’s books can be read as a series or as stand-alone books.

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