For ten months before the Second World War, there was an organised movement of mainly Jewish children out of Nazi Europe. The children were bundled onto trains, waved goodbye to their parents and set off across Germany and Holland to the ferries which took them to England. Only a few spoke English, most had no family or friends here. Almost none ever saw their families again. The first memory of the children arriving at dawn in Harwich after their long trek was 'the policeman smiled', a telling witness to the authoritarian regime they were escaping from.
Based on previously unpublished records and extensive interviews, ...And the Policeman Smiled traces the poignant story of the Kindertransporte, those who helped organise the transports, the families who took them in, but above all the often painful adjustments of the young refugees to a strange country and often lonely life of billeting, fostering, evacuation and even deportation. By turns moving and amusing, the book captures the lives of both those who came to terms with their new existence and those who were unable to.