Projekt Hilfe Sitemap Kontakt Impressum Startseite

E R N E S T   K O L M A N

   Ernst Kohlmann was born in Wesel on June 1st 1926. His father Martin Kohlmann had worked for several years as a farmer in South Africa before he opened a fabric shop in Wesel in the 1920s. His mother Frieda Kohlmann, née Marx, came from Siegburg. Ernst Kohlmann went to the ‘Volksschule’ in Wesel. After the family moved to Cologne in 1934 he went to the Lützowstraße Jewish Municipal ‘Volksschule’before he moved to the Jewish grammar school, the Yavneh.

   On January 18th 1939 he came to England on the first Yavneh-transport led by the Bonn rabbi and teacher at the Yavneh, Dr Rudolf Seligson. To begin with, he lived in the Yavneh hostel at 1Minster Road in London’s Cricklewood along with some of his classmates from the fourth form including Kurt Marx, Julius Weil, Fritz Penas and Hans Walter. The orthodox teachings which Rabbi Seligsohn tried to impart in his role as house master were very alien to Ernst, who came from a liberal Jewish family. A few days before the outbreak of the Second World War, the hostel was disbanded and the children distributed among host families outside London. Ernst Kohlmann now lived with different non-Jewish host parents in Bedford.

   His parents Martin and Frieda Kohlmann were deported on December 4th 1941 from Cologne and murdered in Riga in July 1944. Ernst’s older sister Margrit Kohlmann (born 3rd March 1924) survived deportation to Riga as well as other concentration camps. Shortly before the end of the war, she was sent out onto the Baltic Sea in a ship along with other prisoners from the Stutthof concentration camp. Together with the few survivors of this death voyage, Margrit Kohlmann was freed by the British army in Neustadt, Schleswig-Holstein. She married Heinz Behrmann and lived for a while in the Hunsrück region (south of Cologne) before emigrating to Chicago with her husband.

   When he was fourteen, Ernst Kohlmann had to leave the school in Bedford and was not able to fulfil his dream of attending art school. He finally found an apprenticeship as a painter and decorator. He anglicised his name and from 1942 to 1945 he was a member of the Air Training Corps in the RAF. On May 8th 1945 he did low flying over his former home. In 1946/7 he worked for the US army in Germany and met his wife Eva (Eve) Rosenberg (deceased 2013) who had also been rescued by a Kindertransport to England. In 1947 Ernest Kolman became a British national. He set up his own manufacturing business and he and his wife had two children. After the children left school, Ernest Kolman went to evening classes to complete the secondary school exams he had not been allowed to do in his youth. [‘Abitur’ is more or less equivalent to A-levels, translator’s note.] For many years from 1988 onwards, he has regularly attended the commemorations of November 9th in his home town of Wesel and gives talks in schools there about his experiences.

   Ernest Kolman now (2016) lives in West London and has five grandchildren who all live in the United States. In June 2016 he became an honorary citizen of Wesel, the city of his birth.

Ernest KolmanErnest Kolman 2010, London

Kurt Marx Kurt Marx Kurt Marx Kurt Marx Ian Karten Kurt Marx Ian Karten Kurt Marx Kurt Marx Kurt Marx Ian Karten Ian Karten Kurt Marx Ian Karten Siggy Reichenstein Kurt Marx Kurt Marx Kurt Marx Kurt Marx Ian Karten Kurt Marx Ian Karten Kurt Marx Kurt Marx Ian Karten Ian Karten Kurt Marx Ian Karten Siggy Reichenstein