Jump the Barricade: An Inspiring Rosh Hashanah Message

The true WWII story of Berel Gartner's encounter with King George VI.

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Years ago Berel Gartner shared one of the most remarkable stories ever told on BBC radio. His own.

When Berel was 12 before World War II, he was one of the children who left Germany through the Kindertransport. He arrived in England and was taken to an orphanage. He spent most of his days crying and asking his caregivers when he would see his parents again. As hard as they tried to make him happy, he could not be consoled.

One day, Berel’s caregivers found out that King George VI would be passing through their village, as he frequently did during the early years of his reign. When they told Berel that they would be seeing the king pass by that day, it was the first time in weeks that he stopped crying. Berel had a secret plan.

Berel the other Jewish children were taken to the town square and stood behind a barricade as they waited for the king to pass by. As the royal carriage came closer, Berel jumped the barricade and ran with all of his might towards the king’s carriage. As soon as the royal guards saw him, they grabbed him and carried him back to the barricade. The king asked his guards what was going on. When they told him about the boy who ran towards his carriage, he invited Berel to come closer.

The king asked Berel, “Why did you run towards the carriage? Is there something you would like to tell me?” Berel broke down crying and told the king how much he missed his parents who were still back in Germany. He then wiped the tears and said, “Please. Please help bring my parents here.”

King George responded, “Young boy, we are at war with Germany. It would be impossible for me to do that.”

“But you’re the king of England!" Berel cried. "You can do anything! Please bring my parents to me.”

The king looked at the boy with compassion and said, “Please don’t cry. I promise I will do what I can to try and make it happen.”

Berel gave the king his parents’ names and thanked him, unsure of what to expect.

A month later, there was a knock at the door of the orphanage. Berel’s parents had arrived. Somehow, they were brought out of Germany and were reunited with their son.

Our sages teach us that in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah, the Almighty leaves his palace and roams throughout the villages and fields to be closer to His subjects. It is our chance to jump the barricade and come closer to the King. It's the time we can pour out our heart and ask Him for anything.

This Rosh Hashanah, take advantage of this special time to experience the Almighty’s closeness. Clarify the goals you deeply yearn to accomplish this coming year, and beseech god to invest in you a year of tremendous blessings and joy.

Shanah tovah.

Comments (13)

(12) Alexandra, September 18, 2020 5:05 AM

Amazing video, todah rabah, Shabbat shalom and Shanah tovah

(11) Anonymous, September 18, 2020 2:07 AM

I enjoyed this story immensely. It is better than reading fairy tells to your grandchildren!

I loved this for all the positive emotions it conjures up!

Thank you!

(10) Anonymous, September 17, 2020 6:20 AM

Thank you, thank you, thank you.......

I needed to hear this today. I've been running around 'in square circles' and I needed to stop. I'm so grateful for your words. Appreciate.
Shana Tova u'metuka

(9) Maria Dodoc, September 17, 2020 5:50 AM

Amaizing! Thank You! Shanah Tovah!

(8) Ron Dolinger, September 16, 2020 1:55 AM

Beautiful story

I can feel the 12 year boy’s happiness

(7) Kealani Smith, September 15, 2020 11:06 PM

The righteous Victory King

George VI is not well-known to our time. This man survived real childhood abuse, poured himself out in service especially to the growing boys of his country. He maintained an almost idyllic family life for the wife and daughters he adored. His sense of duty forced him to accept very unwanted and undesirable responsibilities to the cost of his health. He lead Britain to vanquish fascism, allowing others to shine. And in his spare time, raised, valued and trained his daughter, whose own life of service to others is well acknowledged.
So thank you for sharing this beautiful story valuing his character and revealing more about the amazing person he became.

(6) zlate1, September 15, 2020 5:58 PM


What a great story. What a wonderful boy he was. Berel had faith that a flesh and blood king could do the impossible. How much more should we have faith in our King the Almighty who could truly do anything. We just have to ask Him with all our heart. Shanah Tovah to all.

(5) Rachel Shillingford, September 15, 2020 3:37 PM


this is amazing!! thank you for this beautiful posting!!

(4) Anonymous, September 15, 2020 2:39 PM


Great story!
The source for the metaphor of the King in the field is the Alter Rebbe of Chabad in his Sefer Likutei Torah Parshas Reeh.

(3) Rachel Steiner, September 15, 2020 2:36 PM


I can find no reference to Berel Gartner and the kinder transport . Where did you find this story ?

(2) Avraham Turetsky, September 15, 2020 2:03 PM

would like to learn the source of this story

What an inspiring story, Reb Yaakov. Can I trouble you to share with us the source?

Yaakov, September 15, 2020 4:26 PM

Hi! Thank you so much for the comment. The BBC interview took place on June 26th, 2013. I'm happy to share more information on it. Please be in touch via email; mine is yaakovyscohen@gmail.com.

(1) Guinn G. Fuller, September 15, 2020 8:32 AM

What a great time of year!

This is such a great time of year! Thank you for helping us get ready for the blessings of the New Year!


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