14/06/2020 - Permalink

News from our partners: Woman who escaped Nazis tells her story for Refugee Week

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News from our partners Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative

A moving story by a woman who was educated in Oswestry after escaping the Nazi reign of terror as a child is being highlighted nationally as part of Refugee Week.

At 86, Dame Stephanie is still a much sought-after public speaker.

At 86, Dame Stephanie is still a much sought-after public speaker.

Entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley, now 86, was due to revisit Shropshire in April 2020 to tell her inspirational story at a seminar organised by the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative as part of its project to mark the centenary of the Save the Children charity, founded by locally-born sisters Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton.

She was also due to be honoured at a civic reception organised by Oswestry Town Council  But both events were called off because of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Dame Stephanie’s presentation is now being featured on the official website for Refugee Week which runs from 15 June – 21 June 2020. It is also available on the sculpture group’s website.

As the five-year-old daughter of a Jewish German lawyer, she fled Nazi-occupied Austria by train before the outbreak of the 2nd World War in 1939 and was brought to safety through the Kindertranport programme which rescued thousands of refugee children.

She arrived in Britain with her older sister, Renate –penniless and without a word of English. She eventually came to Oswestry where she was looked after by foster parents and educated at the former Girls High School.

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on 20 June, Refugee Week is also a growing global movement that encourages positive encounters between communities, helping them to connect and learn from each other, and promoting a culture of welcome.

Dame Stephanie’s remarkable story can be found here…


For more information, please contact John Shone, Publicity Officer, Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative, on 01691 624514.