In 1945 Katie Krone was working as a nursing sister at Amersham General Hospital. Katie’s memories of the Jewish Community in Amersham during the war and the new synagogue in Woodside Road inspired Vivien and Deborah Samson’s book The Rabbi in the Green Jacket.
Katharina Krone was born 2nd August 1901 in Schwerin an der Warthe, now Skwierzyna in Western Poland. When Hitler came to power Katie and another Jewish friend fled their home in Stettin and travelled to Holland. As a trained nurse, Katie was able to obtain a visa to enter Britain, but she had to leave her friend behind. Katie later received a letter, via the Red Cross, from this friend, who had reached the Palestine after being released from Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, in exchange for a German Prisoner of War. She warned Katie that if the war continued, she would lose all her family, and this is exactly what happened.
Katie initially worked at Llandough Hospital near Cardiff before being briefly interned on the Isle of Man as an “enemy alien”. On her release she took up a position at Amersham Hospital, helping transform it from the Old Amersham Workhouse to a modern Hospital.
“During the war I and other German Jewish ladies met at the Quaker Meeting House (in Whielden Street) every Sunday to have a drink and chat. I went in my nurses’ uniform. They were surprised I worked in Amersham Hospital next door as a nursing sister. I helped to create Sunday meetings, for women only, which the refugees really enjoyed.
At Amersham Hospital we had wards in corrugated huts as well as the main workhouse. Our congregation still holds services at the Meeting House. When working at the hospital, I always wore my Magen David (Star of David) necklace. One wartime patient, non-Jewish, said to me ‘I am proud of you for wearing this. I know many Jewish people’”.
According to Vivien and Deborah Samson, she was a strict nursing sister, keeping everything in order, clean and tidy but always very caring. Katie worked in the hospital for the rest of her career and died in Wycombe in 1993, at the age of 92.