IF it hadn’t been for a mix-up over passports, Albert Waxman would never have made it to the safety of a house in Manningham.

Albert was 14 when he left Germany and came to the UK on the Kindertransport, the rescue system taking 10,000 Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied Europe from 1938-39.

Arriving at a holiday camp in Kent, after an exhausting journey, Albert was one of 24 boys chosen to stay in a hostel in Bradford set up by Oswald Stroud, founder of Drummonds Mill.

It was raining the night they arrived, Albert told me when I interviewed him about life in the hostel. He was nearly 90 then, and remembered it as if it was the day before.

As a journalist, I have met several Holocaust survivors over the years. Each story is different, but each has a twist of fate that saved their lives. In Albert’s case it was an administration error when he and his family were sent for deportation to Poland. His Polish-born parents had been arrested, but because Albert and his brothers weren’t on their passport the Gestapo turned them all away at the border. “I was lucky to come to England - even luckier not to go to Poland,” he told me.

While his older brothers went into hiding, Albert was put on a Kindertransport train. Most children he travelled with would never see their families again. Many were traumatised by the journey. Albert said he saw it as an adventure: “I was pleased to leave Germany, it was my only chance of escape, and excited to go to England.”

On a November evening in 1938, shortly after Kristallnacht (Albert hid in the attic while SS officers smashed up his home), Oswald Stroud addressed a Bradford committee, suggesting ways to bring Jewish children to safety. Funds were raised by the city’s Jewish and wider business community, the Quakers and Salvation Army, to buy a house on Parkfield Road and turn it into a refugee home.

Albert recalled daily life there - pillow fights, playing cricket, trips to the cinema, English classes at Drummond School, parcels of clothes from local families, collecting bluebells in Heaton Woods for Mr Stroud’s mother, “a prolific sock-mender” at the hostel.

“Mr Stroud visited every Sunday,” said Albert. “Once he took me out to his farm in his Rolls Royce. I said to myself, ‘If I can ever afford it I will buy myself a Rolls Royce’. Eventually I did.”

Albert went on to set up textile mills in Bradford then a company that became one of the UK’s leading distributors of ceramic tiles. When I met him, we had tea in the sitting-room of his beautiful house, overlooking a swimming pool in the garden. The boy who came to Bradford with nothing but a suitcase had made a remarkable success of his life.

After Albert died in 2019, aged 94, I visited his wife, Lilly. She too had escaped Nazi Germany as a child. Returning to her home town after the war, she discovered family possessions had been auctioned, with ‘Heil Hitler’ stamped on them.

Lilly believed Albert’s success, in business and as a community leader, stemmed from his time in the Bradford hostel. “He had a great determination there to make a success of his life,” she said. After the war Albert was reunited with his parents, who were living under false names in Paris. He was the only boy in the hostel whose parents both survived the Holocaust.

Today, Holocaust Memorial Day, trees are being planted in Lister Park to commemorate the Kindertransport hostel that stood nearby. As a boy, Albert befriended Rudi Leavor, who fled his family’s Berlin home in 1937, aged 11, after the Gestapo invaded it. Rudi, who died last year, said of the Bradford hostel: “It saved 24 boys and the wardens’ lives, and turned out to be a happy place of sanctuary.”

The theme of Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Light the Darkness’, remembering “those who were murdered for who they were”.

For the boys arriving in Bradford that rainy evening in 1939, the light in the darkness was a house on Parkfield Road.