George and Alexander Tscherny: Escape from Nazi Germany
From Claire Blyth
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When Germany invaded Holland in May 1940, the Tscherny brothers were in further peril. Nazis seized the property housing the refugee children and they were shunted to an orphanage in Amsterdam. Meanwhile, their parents had successfully fled Germany and were able to provide entry visas to the USA, but the boys had to return to Nazi Germany to obtain transit visas to reach Lisbon, their port to freedom. They left Amsterdam in February 1941 and joined a group of 10 other children who were assembling in Berlin with the same purpose. After several terrifying months, Jewish agencies were ultimately able to secure the necessary approval for their transit visas. In a sealed train, the 12 children departed for Lisbon, where they boarded various ships to the United States. Alex and George were finally able to sail on Alex’s birthday, June 10, 1941, aboard the SS Mouzinho bound for New York.
During George and Alex’s survival quest, numerous organizations responded to their plight. These rescue efforts give us a glimpse of heroic humanity during one of the darkest times in history. The saga of Alex, George, and thousands of other children is a testament to their courage, endurance and determination.