Downend mourns brave Hella, 94

May 30 2019

A WOMAN who made Downend her home after escaping from the Nazis as a child has died, aged 94.

A WOMAN who made Downend her home after escaping from the Nazis as a child has died, aged 94.

Hella Hewison was a quiet person but had an amazing story to tell. Up until the age of 14 she had grown up in Berlin. She escaped from Nazi Germany in June 1939 when her parents put her on the Kindertransport, trains organised to take Jewish children to safety in the UK. She had already witnessed the persecution of Jews in the streets on Kristallnacht.
She was fostered by a family in Bristol, went to Colston’s Girls School, quickly learnt English and trained to be a nurse and a health visitor, having been told during the war that she faced possible internment as an ‘enemy alien’.
Hella later married and moved to Downend, living a very full life and attending the Christ Church Fellowship, even going on their annual weekend away in early March, a month before her death.
She told her story to the BBC last year and video of her powerful interview can still be viewed online by searching for her name.
Hella told the BBC that before she was sent away by her father, who like her mother was murdered by the Nazis, he told her: “If you survive this, tell other people what you have seen.”
She told the BBC: “I have to speak because this world has not changed.”
Helen Buick, of Christ Church Downend, said: “Hella took her father’s words to heart and shared again and again her survival story and the tragic events of the holocaust which affected the rest of her family.
“Her sister also escaped, but both her parents and her grandmother were killed in concentration camps. I count it such a privilege to have known this lady and to share her story once more.”