The Lost Story of How One Christian Sect’s Biblical Beliefs Kept 250 Jewish Children Alive

Contemporary Issues | Volume 22, Issue 5 | September – October 2016.

This title appeared on a website devoted to Israeli news from a biblical perspective1. The author, Adam Berkowitz, wrote an article relating to Brother Jason Hensley’s book on the role of Christadelphians in the Kindertransport. This is part of what he wrote:

In a new book, a member of an obscure Christian sect has set out to document a chapter in the Holocaust that brought Jews and Christians together, not in belief or even friendship, but as one family living under the same roof.

Following Kristallnacht in November 1938, Britain, the only willing host country, began the Kindertransport, taking in over 10,000 Jewish children from Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. Conscientious objectors and shunners of politics, the Christadelphians, an obscure Christian sect, were unlikely hosts, but in the face of the growing evil that threatened the Jews, they decided to take action. Their participation in the Kindertransport saved 250 Jewish children from almost certain death.

The Christadelphians were, and remain, an obscure branch of Christianity. There are about 50,000 Christadelphians today who follow the 19th century teachings of John Thomas. With no central authority, different groups vary, but all Christadelphians are Biblical Unitarians, emphasizing the Bible as divinely inspired. Daily Bible reading is a central part of their religious devotion.

According to Christadelphian belief, the Hebrew Bible is truly about the Jewish people, bringing a recognition that God made eternal promises to Abraham and fostering a desire to work on the Jews’ behalf. Jason Hensley, a Christadelphian school principal from California, who recently authored a book about his co-religionists’ part in the Kindertransport, claims that it is this Bible study that brought them to a greater affinity towards the

Jews. So great was their love for God’s Chosen People that they saw Jewish children as their own.

Hensley’s book tells the unknown story of the Christadelphian families who took in Jewish children and cared for them as their own while allowing them to maintain their faith. Hensley interviewed ten of the survivors saved by the Christadelphians.

While the story of the Kindertransport is not a new one, Hensley’s book uncovers a previously unknown, Biblically-motivated aspect of that story: a community of Christians whose firm belief in the Hebrew Bible was the direct catalyst for the saving of hundreds of Jewish lives.”