Skip to main content

Distributed for Calon

Escape to Gwrych Castle

A Jewish Refugee Story

The often-overlooked history of the German-Jewish refugee children of Gwrych Castle.

In 1939, several German Jewish refugee children, traveling on the Kindertransport, found themselves in Abergele, North Wales. Would this be their temporary new home? Gwrych Castle, where a Hachshara was being set up, was a residential “training center” aimed at preparing the Jewish children for life on a kibbutz in Israel, where they hoped to be reunited with their families. In this intriguing debut, Andrew Hesketh explores the lesser-told history of the children who lived in this North Wales castle, bringing together their personal memories and experiences to create a unique picture of their lives. He also explores the history of the building itself, from its origins in the nineteenth century up to its use in the reality television series I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! in 2020.

304 pages | halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Biography and Letters

Biological Sciences: Conservation

Earth Sciences: Environment

History: British and Irish History

View all books from University of Wales Press

Table of Contents

Prologue – “Are you from the castle?”
Chapter 1 – “The young generation of a great people”: 1933-1939. The Jews, the Nazis & Abergele
Chapter 2 – “A field in the middle of nowhere”: Summer 1939. The gathering of the Gwrych refugees
Chapter 3 – “On a dark night”: 30 August – 6 September 1939. Arrival at Gwrych Castle
Chapter 4 – “I wanted to do something useful”: September 1939 (part 1). Establishing the Gwrych Hachshara
Chapter 5 – “We had good plans”: September 1939 (part 2). Developing the Gwrych Hachshara
Chapter 6 – “I didn’t tell them I was German”: October – November 1939. Aliens, Football & meeting the neighbours
Chapter 7 – “An old Bowler hat”: December 1939 – February 1940. Blackouts, Pubs & The Wizard of Oz
Chapter 8 – “Leck mich am arsch”: March – April 1940. Learning Welsh, fancy dress, the ‘naughty’ boys and girls & a car crash
Chapter 9 – “A very traumatic experience”: May – June 1940. Spy Fever & Internment
Chapter 10 – “I couldn’t see any purpose to it”: July – September 1940. Departures, arrivals & divisions
Chapter 11 – “Not quite the haven they anticipated”: October 1940 – September 1941. Bombs, Weddings & closing down the Gwrych Hachshara
Epilogue: “This place gave us a new life”

Appendix I – Nominal Roll of those known to have been at Gwrych Castle between 1939 and 1941
Appendix II - Glossary

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press