Anne Lehmann Fox, 90, formerly of Merion, a writer who as a child escaped Nazi Germany on the famed Kindertransport but whose parents perished in the Holocaust, died Monday, Dec. 26, of heart failure at Lankenau Medical Center.
In 1938, as a 12-year-old living with her family in Berlin, Mrs. Fox was witness to the rise of the Nazis. On Nov. 9 and 10, storm troopers killed Jews and smashed their homes, stores, and synagogues in what became known as Kristallnacht.
Afterward, the Nazis denied travel visas to Jewish adults, but some children under 17 were allowed to seek refuge in Britain. Mrs. Fox's parents signed her up for the children's transport, a series of rescue missions mounted by British humanitarians in the nine months before World War II began. Britain took in 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.
Allowed one suitcase each, the children traveled by train through Germany and the Netherlands, then by boat across the English Channel to the port of Harwich, and from there to other parts of Britain.
Mrs. Fox went alone to freedom while her parents, stripped of their dignity and belongings, died in a concentration camp. She never saw them again.
The experience affected her so profoundly that she lectured and wrote about it the rest of her life.
"She would freely give first-person, heartrending lectures on her family's horrifying Holocaust experiences to any audience who would invite her to speak," said her son, Julian.
Mrs. Fox found haven with a rural Welsh family and went to school. Several years later, while working at the public library in Cardiff, Wales, she met GI Frank Fox, and married him. Their bond lasted 70 years.
He became an accomplished history professor and art expert. She became a writer. Her first book, My Heart in a Suitcase, told of her flight from Germany and her life in London, and then the village of Swineshead, after the Nazis began bombing the British capital.
A play by Greg Gunning based on the book was staged in middle schools across America. After each performance, the students wrote Mrs. Fox notes and questions. She answered every one.
"The play was really about her friendship with Dorit, a German girl who was Catholic and forced to join the Hitler Youth," her son said. "When my mother left, they found each other through the Red Cross and kept in touch in spite of everything."
With Eva Abraham-Podietz, she wrote Ten Thousand Children, a 1998 compendium of stories of children who escaped on the Kindertransport.
In 2005, ComteQ published Between the Lines: Letters From the Holocaust. The book was based on letters from her parents couched in guarded terms because of the fear of Nazi censors.
The work was praised by British historian Sir Martin Gilbert as "a powerful addition to our knowledge of the fate of German Jewry."
The Philadelphia School District hired Mrs. Fox as a cultural enrichment teacher at Benjamin Franklin High School. She also was a head counselor at Appel Farm Arts and Music Camp in Elmer, N.J.
She played the clarinet in the Lower Merion Symphony until a stroke 20 years ago forced her to stop.
Mrs. Fox never forgot those who had taken her in as a child. In return, her door was always open to strangers and to homeless animals.
Her husband died last August. Besides her son, she is survived by a daughter, Nina, and four grandchildren.
Shiva services will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, at the Quadrangle, 3300 Darby Rd., Haverford. Burial is private.
Donations may be made to the Lower Merion Symphony via www.lowermerionsymphony.org.