A WOMAN who escaped from Nazi Germany on a Kindertransport train has died peacefully at the age of 95.

Eva Pinthus, a resident of Menston for 60 years, was 14 when she came to the UK in 1939. She was one of thousands of children brought to safety - many would never see their families again.

Eva’s friend and co-executor Margaret Nunnerley said:”Eva came from a Berlin family of lawyers and, by the time she left Germany, had already experienced the brutalities inflicted upon Jewish citizens there, living through the horrors of Kristallnacht in 1938 and seeing family members flee to the UK and the USA. She had also experienced the tragic loss through infection of her beloved father and elder sister.

“Eva’s life in England showed her developing commitment to pacifism and to building a society based on equality, cooperation and respect for human beings that would be the foundation for peace rather than the horror of war. In this work Eva was strengthened by her membership of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) who she joined while in her twenties.”

Eva, who died on April 20, was the first woman to read theology at Birmingham University. She went on to work as a teacher, as warden of two university halls of residence, and as a lecturer in theology in Leeds Beckett Park Teacher Training College.

Margaret Nunnerley said: “Perhaps her most significant work was during the 60-plus years in which, in addition to her salaried work, she undertook post-war relief work in East Germany, and later developed peace education and conciliation projects there, mainly with the sponsorship of Quakers, but always on a strongly ecumenical basis. Her final professional role was as part-time volunteer Quaker chaplain at Leeds University, which she combined with service on the West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council and on the Advisory Committee of Bradford University Peace Studies Department. Eva is also believed to be the subject of a ‘Stasi’ file in Germany.

“Since Eva’s death, tributes from Europe and from the UK, recalling her work since the 1950s, have flooded in. Her friends are left with several poignant reminders both of her loving family life, and of the racial violence that pervaded her childhood, which memories she struggled with throughout her life. We have a 1930s bicycle and a box of household linen, carefully packed and sent by her mother before she was transported to Auschwitz concentration camp, where she died. Eva’s grandmother had died at Theresianstadt camp two years earlier. We also have her identity card stamped with a large ‘J’ for Jew, and including the name ‘Sarah’ which was not hers but which all Jewish females were ordered to use.

“Eva built on these deep experiences to live a life that has proved to be a source of inspiration to several generations, both here and in Europe. She loved the village of Menston, supported many local projects, and leaves many friends in the Wharfe Valley who enjoyed her humour and directness, as well as her achievements both here and abroad.”