Jean Rowntree: the Quaker helping in England
With the occupation of the Sudetenland by the Nazis in 1938 many Jews, social democrats and communists were forced to flee into the interior of the Czech lands. When the refugee situation in Prague and its surroundings grew critical, the Quakers came to the aid of the refugees to ease their suffering and help them in their further escape via the Gdansk corridor to the west. Two of them, cousins Tessa and Jean Rowntree, were present from the start, and helped to organise transports by arranging formalities and drawing up lists for the British Embassy, for example. They were also involved in making sure refugees in need were taken care of. The role of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in helping the refugees is practically unknown in today’s Czech society. In recent years, a Quaker center has been reestablished in Prague, and regular meetings for worship are held there.
This guided walk is a part of the “Democracy on the Brink. Historical lessons from the late 1930s” project supported by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union.