Marga Forester, 90, Holocaust survivor

Marga Forester with her husband, Frank, and great-grandson, Tapan Parker Wearn, in 2010. The Foresters met as orphans in England in the 1940s after fleeing Nazi Germany.
Marga Forester with her husband, Frank, and great-grandson, Tapan Parker Wearn, in 2010. The Foresters met as orphans in England in the 1940s after fleeing Nazi Germany.
Posted: February 24, 2014

Marga Forester, 90, of Wynnewood, a Holocaust survivor who escaped from Nazi Germany to England on the famous Kindertransport, died Sunday, Feb. 9, of a heart attack at home.

Mrs. Forester, the former Marga Levy, was married to fellow Holocaust survivor Frank Forester, who died of respiratory failure Dec. 3, also at home in Wynnewood. He was 88. They were together 69 years.

As children - she was 16, he was 13 - the two left Germany on separate Kindertransports, the rescue effort in which Britain agreed to take in 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland when the Nazis were gaining power.

Although the transports saved 10,000 Jewish children and babies from the Holocaust, most of the youngsters never saw their parents again, according to the Kindertransport Association.

"I vaguely remember being given 10 days' notice that I was going to be able to leave Germany and travel to England on a 'children's transport.' I was so excited, I felt sick all the time and spent my last 10 days at home in bed," Mrs. Forester wrote in a memoir.

On the train platform in Berlin, she recalled thinking her parents looked sad. "I wonder in retrospect if they had an intuition that they would never see me again," she wrote.

As the train from Berlin neared the border with the Netherlands, SS men boarded to check passports. "We were petrified in case they would stop us from leaving Germany. . . . Once in Holland, we felt free!" she wrote.

The children took a ferry to Harwich, England, where they were met by the Jewish Refugee Committee. She was lodged in a boardinghouse in Birmingham before being sent to the countryside to escape German bombing.

She later learned her transport in July 1939 had been one of last ones to get children out of Germany. Once Britain entered World War II in September 1939, the rescue missions stopped. She also learned that her parents and younger brother died in a concentration camp.

Frank Forester had arrived on an earlier transport, in December 1938. His parents disappeared; he never learned their fate.

"That's what brought them together. They were both orphans," said the couple's daughter, Carole Parker.

They met at the boardinghouse where they both lived. He served in the British army; she cooked for the British Fire Service, the agency responsible for fighting the fires started by German air raids. The two married in 1944.

After moving to London in 1950, the couple and their daughter came to the United States in 1956 and settled in Chicago.

Mrs. Forester worked for various insurance companies before becoming a saleslady in the dress department at Marshall Field & Co. in the 1980s. Her husband was an elementary schoolteacher who also taught English as a second language and was a school psychologist before retiring in 1990.

The couple moved to Wynnewood in 1993 to be near their daughter.

Mrs. Forester, who as a youngster had been apprenticed to a milliner in Germany, had a lifelong love of sewing and knitting. She made quilts for babies with AIDS. She also was an artist who enjoyed painting and making prints.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Forester is survived by a granddaughter and a great-grandson.

Services are private.

Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, Delaware Valley Chapter, 399 Market St., Suite 102, Philadelphia 19106.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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