Reading about the Basque children who were evacuated to Liverpool in the late 1930's ,reminded me of another wave of refugees that found a safe haven in the U.K.
I write of the people who managed to escape from Hungary during the Uprising that happened there in 1956 . Britain was up to it's neck in the Suez fiasco and so the news about Hungary was given greater coverage here than would otherwise have been the case. The tv and cinema newsreels showed us the dreadful state of affairs and generated a huge wave of sympathy for the Hungarian people. Liverpool played its part in helping to find homes for those who had managed to escape across the Austrian border. The class I was in at Gilmour Heath Road had one of the refugees join as a pupil. He was Anglicised pretty fast and went by name John. His english was brilliant and he was soon indistinguishable from the rest of us. He joined the Merchant Navy about the same time as I did and I sailed with him in the very early sixties. I've often wondered if he went "home" again when Hungary regained its independence..
Down here, in the Midlands, I met a man who was a refugee from Nazi Germany. He and his family managed to get here just before hostilities broke out. He was only a mere child ,not even of school age when he arrived here. He still had a very faint accent (his parents spoke German at home) but he was as British as they come. He loved this country for giving his family a home,and he hated Gemany with a passion, and, no he was'nt a Jew, his father was on the list of undesirables that the Nazis had drawn up.
For all the negatives we feel about this country, we are held in great esteem by those who have come upon these shores looking for a safe haven.