Ruth Kohner was a Jewish refugee from the Sudetenland. Born in 1937, Ruth, her sister Dinah Kohner and parents came to Northern Ireland as part of the Kindertransport.
Her parents Franz Kohner and Edith Kohner were administrators on the kindertransport resettlement farm at Ballyrolly House, Millisle, Co. Down. They received a Visa to come to the United Kingdom in 1939.
Travelling by train and boat, the Kohner family left Czechoslovakia on 26th July 1939 and arrived in Northern Ireland on 7th August 1939. On their arrival at Dover, soldiers beckoned for Edith and the children to come forward from the boat. Edith cried with happiness, having become accustomed to Nazi rule including being forced to the back as a Jew. When they arrived in Northern Ireland, the family spent 4 weeks with the Berwitz family in Belfast, Co. Antrim before travelling onwards to Millisle, Co. Down.
In recent years, Ruth has told her story to schoolchildren at Millisle Primary School, Millisle, Co. Down and Down County Museum, Downpatrick, Co. Down. She and her sister Dinah Kohner were so young when they arrived in Northern Ireland, they grew up speaking English.
Many relatives including Franz’s mother did not escape Nazi persecution. After leaving the safe-haven of Millisle, Ruth never returned to her homeland in the former Czechoslovakia. She remained in Northern Ireland. The extended Kohner family lost a total of 23 members during the Holocaust.