Ruth was born in 1935 in Berlin, two years after the Nazis came to power.
In this video, she describes her early life and family in Germany.
Ruth was four when she left Germany for England on the Kindertransport. In this video, she describes her early memories of life in Berlin.
The Nazis’ antisemitic laws meant that many Jewish professionals, such as Ruth’s father, who was a Jewish lawyer, lost their jobs.
As Ruth’s mother was Christian, she was able to continue working and her salary supported the family.
In November 1938, the Nazis’ and their supporters unleashed a series of antisemitic attacks across Germany known as Kristallnacht.
In this video, Ruth describes her and her brother’s memories of the event.
Ruth describes the journey via train and boat to England on the Kindertransport.
Ruth arrived in England in 1939 after travelling with her brother Martin and her mother, who could, as a Christian, travel on a holiday visa to the country temporarily.
In this video, Ruth describes her memories of arriving in England and her mother’s departure back to Nazi Germany.
When Ruth arrived in England she was four years old, and could not speak English.
In this video, she describes her first experiences of being German in England.
After arriving in Britain, Ruth and her brother were settled with a foster family.
In this video, Ruth describes the first family she was settled with, a vicar and his wife.
After their first foster father died, Ruth and her brother were placed with a second foster family in Kent.
Ruth and Martin were moved to a third foster family towards the end of the Second World War.
In 1949, four years after the end of the war and ten years after leaving Germany on the Kindertransport, Ruth’s mother arrived in England and wanted her to return to Germany. However, Ruth, who could no longer speak German and , wished to remain in England.
During the war, Ruth’s mother survived by hiding in Germany.
Ruth’s father, who was in more danger as he was a Jew, had managed to escape the Nazis in 1939 and found refuge in Shanghai.
In 1949, Ruth’s parents extradited her from England against her wishes and she returned to Germany. Ruth was extremely unhappy with the decision, and soon returned to England under an agreement that she spend the school holidays with her parents in Germany.
After returning to England, Ruth went back to living with her foster family.
In this video, Ruth discusses her legacy.
Ruth Michaelis (later Barnett) was born in 1935 in Berlin, Germany. Ruth’s father, Robert, was Jewish, and her mother, Louise, was Christian. Ruth had one brother, Martin, who was three years older.
As a result of the Nazis’ increasing antisemitic persecution, in 1939 Ruth and her older brother were sent on the Kindertransport to England.
Both of Ruth’s parents survived the war. Ruth’s father, Robert, escaped Nazi Germany and fled to Shanghai, where he remained until the end of the war. Ruth’s mother survived in hiding in Germany.