Birmingham plaque honours Holocaust hero

A plaque has been unveiled in honour of a woman who helped save hundreds of children from the Holocaust.

Bertha Bracey aided relief operations in Germany and the Netherlands before and after World War Two.

A founder of the Kindertransport, she helped rescue thousands of Nazi victims and lone children between 1933-1948.

The plaque was unveiled by the Birmingham Civic Society and Bournville Village Trust at Bournville Quaker Meeting House.

Her great-nephew, Steve Bamford, said the plaque was a “great honour”.

“We knew that Aunty Bertha had an OBE, but we were never quite sure what it was for and she didn’t really talk about it,” he said. “She wasn’t one for blowing her own trumpet.

“It really wasn’t until after she died we realised quite how important her role was.”

Ms Bracey was born in Birmingham in 1893 and after graduating from Birmingham University, worked as a teacher before joining the Society of Friends, the Quakers at 18 – leaving the profession to work at Quaker centres in Austria and Germany as a youth and aid worker.

She founded schools for refugees and led the Quaker team which formed part of the Movement for the Care of Children from Germany. In 1942 she was awarded an OBE for her service and leadership and three years later arranged for 300 orphans to be flown from a concentration camp to England. 

After the war, she joined the Allied Control Commission to help refugees in Germany and was later responsible for women’s affairs in the American and British Zones of Occupation until she retired in 1953.

She died in 1989, but in 2010 was recognised as a British Hero of the Holocaust by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The plaque will go on permanent display outside her former family home on Bournville Lane, in Bournville, where she lived in 1911 before leaving to begin a career and her humanitarian aid work.Penny Colbourne, from Birmingham Civic Society, said: “We hope this plaque will ensure Bertha is never forgotten and that the kindness, compassion and strength she showed through her selfless work will inspire others.” 


Subscribe to the EJC newsletter

Get the EJC newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community