Jewish former child evacuees return to East Devon village they lived in during WW2

  • Watch Richard Lawrence's report

A group of former child evacuees have returned to the East Devon village that hosted them after they fled war in 1939.

More than eight decades on, the group of Jewish children who were sent by their parents to safety have returned to witness their story told as a play, written and performed by the community in Talaton.

Talaton a Wartime Refuge tells the story of how six children who fled Poland as part of the Kindertransport evacuation in 1939, were given homes in the village of Talaton for the duration of World War Two.

Manfred Korman, a former Kindertransport child who stayed in Devon for a year was featured in the play along with his brother, Gerd Korman. He said he found the performance "remarkable."

Talaton a Wartime Refuge tells the story of six children who came to Devon after fleeing Poland as part of the kindertransport evacuation

"It's one of those adventures in life that doesn't happen very often and it just tells you something about what this little town has done in terms of taking children in and helping them survive", he said.

Manfred's brother, Gerd Korman, said it brought back a range of emotions for him. "They are excellent memories, so long as I don't think about them", he told ITV News.

"Once I start to think about the memories, they're horrible. But that's because the bigger picture was horrible, but otherwise, they were fantastic, sort of life-saving", he added.

Many of the former Kindertransport children brought relatives as far away as America and Israel to see the village that became their home.

Rabbi Mira, Manfred Korman's daughter-in- law said: "It's a miracle for us. The goodness of people is faith itself at work then and today."

Manfred and Gerd Korman came to live in the East Devon village after fleeing Poland

Jerome Korman, Manfred's son said: "Now that I'm here I know that not only did they take in my father and my uncle but for a longer period of time they took in three women. It's a remarkable testament to the town".

Some villagers who attended the play remembered their interactions with the kindertransport children who arrived to their village.

"My memory was Gwen and Paula coming here as refugees", Harriet Paluch, a local resident who grew up in Talaton said.

"They had no toys - nothing. So I said to my mum, 'could I give them my doll's pram?' and I did. She came to me later in the year and thanked me", she added.

The play was written by local resident, Tom Samson who said the Talaton community has remained unchanged since the events of the war.

"The village is just as the village was back in 1939", he said. "It's still open and inclusive and friendly and warm and that's the way it was when I came 20 years ago."