Holocaust survivor Harry Kessler from Southport and the letter that helped him escape the Nazi's

Video report by ITV Granada Reports journalist Sarah Rogers

Harry Kessler was just a boy when the Nazi's took over his home of Vienna.

On the eve of war, he and his family made their incredible escape thanks to a chance meeting and a thank you note sent years earlier.

Harry Kessler with his mother Annie and father Frank

Taking a ride on the Danube steamer little Harry climbed onto a seat and almost muddied a woman's skirt with his shoes.

Unphased, the woman who was in Austria with her husband from their hometown of Chester struck up a friendship with the boy and his father Frank Kessler.

Engrossed in conversation, Gladys and William missed their boat stop so as a kind gesture Frank invited them back to his home for a slice of cake.

Frank and his wife Annie gave their new friends a guided tour over the weekend before saying their goodbyes.

On Gladys’s return to the North West, she sent a note thanking them for the hospitality.

The note written in 'poor German' says Harry

That thoughtful note would save their lives said Harry, now 91.

By March 1938 the Nazi's had moved into Austria and the Jewish Kessler family knew they must leave.

Harry Kessler's parents had all the documents they needed to escape except one. An Affidavit from someone willing to take legal and financial responsibility for them.

Gladys and William Jones, the couple from Chester who took the Kesslers in.

Now, five years on from that chance meeting Frank Kessler and his wife Annie found that thank you note and wrote to the Jones family asking for help.

In an incredible act of kindness the couple took the Kessler's in to their home in Chester.

"That letter I'm sure saved our lives and it emphasises how kindness to strangers can lead to good things."

Harry Kessler, now 91 at his home in Southport

Harry - who treasures that note now lives in Southport and gives talks on the Holocaust to schools and Universities to make sure it's not forgotten.

He says he hopes it inspires young people to stand up for others to ensure "such a terrible thing, never happens again."

He was also given a BEM in the queens honours list as well as raising thousands of pounds for charity.