One of the last Jewish refugees who escaped to Shanghai just days before the Nazi Holocaust began in Europe has died at his home in Mill Hill at the age of 87.

Kurt Wick was just a toddler when his family managed to get out of Vienna before the outbreak of the Second World War in which six million Jews were murdered.

He was a surviving member of north London’s Association of Jewish Refugees and died last Thursday, February 29, leaving a wife and family.

“Kurt’s family miraculously escaped from Vienna and made it by ship to Shanghai,” the association’s chief executive Michael Newman explained. “We are saddened to hear about his passing.

“His family were among the last Jewish refugees to make their escape to Shanghai.

“We are grateful to have Kurt’s testimony. Experiences like his help preserve the record of the Holocaust. We will continue to tell his story.”

The association is part of the UK delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Kurt was born in Vienna in 1937 but had no memory of a happy life before the Nazi Anschluss. Hitler annexed Austria in March 1938, which unleashed violent anti-Jewish riots by Nazi mobs.

The Wick family tried to get a visa to leave Austria. They managed to cross the frontier into Italy where Kurt’s uncle Ernest got passage for the family on a ship in Trieste on August 2, 1939.

The ship arrived in Shanghai on August 28 — just three days before Hitler invaded Poland, which led to the start of the Second World War.

The family joined a small refugee Jewish community of 20,000, mainly from Germany and Austria, feeling safe for the first time, even during the Japanese invasion of China.

“It was a miracle we heard about Jews going to Shanghai,” his older brother Sigmund recalled years later.

“We went there ‘by default’ because the rest of the world was closed to us. But we made a ‘little Vienna’ there which was cut off from the horrors of Europe.

“It was pretty safe, as long as we didn’t annoy the Japanese.”

Kurt’s family spent the war years in Shanghai before finally reaching Britain in 1948, when he was 11. They settled in West Hampstead where Kurt and Sigmund completed their schooling.

The brothers joined their father’s handbag manufacturing business when they left school in the early 1950s and would go on to make a Mappin and Webb handbag for the late Queen.