“Taking part in this dig project has above all else granted me a totally unexpected opportunity to connect with and pinpoint physically those places, often spoken of by my late mother Minia Jay, where she had stayed during a crucial moment of her life. Minia, nee Munter was an orphan Holocaust Survivor and one of the ‘Windermere Boys).
After 6 years living in Ghettos, Concentration and Slave Labour Camps [including Auschwitz Birkenau], in constant fear of death by the Nazis, she arrived at this sanctuary of safety which was the Calgarth Estate Hostels in the midst of one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Britain. The weeks that she spent here were a transition point from the European wartime hell hole to the wonderful life that was to follow. The kindness, respect and tolerance offered by all the local Cumbrians and the beautiful locality were in such stark contrast to all interactions and environments she had experienced during those war years that they were to be remembered and recounted with such great affection until the day she died.
Of course it was also an absolutely amazing and unique experience to have participated in the archeological dig which I enjoyed tremendously learning some of the process as I joined in. As we dug our trenches, from removal of the turf, and started uncovering stones, soil and artefacts, it became clear from our finds including bits of tiles, frosted glass and underground clay drainage pipes that it may have been some sort of bathroom area. I got carried away thinking that ‘My mum may have washed herself then here in the middle of this present day Rugby pitch’!”
Denise Kienwald – August 2019