Reverend Francis Wahle, who arrived in the UK on the Kindertransport with his sister, has died at the age of 95.

The Marylebone resident was born in Vienna in 1929 and fled his home country as a nine-year-old after the Nazis annexed Austria.

His four grandparents were Jewish, but his father Karl had converted away from Judaism and he and his sister Anne were baptised and brought up Catholic.

Ham & High: Francis arrived in England aged nine with his eight-year-old sister AnneFrancis arrived in England aged nine with his eight-year-old sister Anne (Image: Rev. Francis Wahle_AJR)

They only found out their Jewish roots when they were forced to leave their secular school after the Anschluss.

Arriving unaccompanied in January 1939, they were were looked after by the Catholic Committee for Refugees.

Anne was sent to live with nuns and Francis became a boarder at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire which proved a "fresh start", and he "studied to compensate" for his loss.

Happily they discovered in 1945/6 that their parents survived the war in hiding in Vienna for three years - thanks to his mother Hedwig's resourceful nature.

Ham & High: Francis worked as an accountant before training as a Catholic priest at the age of 30Francis worked as an accountant before training as a Catholic priest at the age of 30 (Image: Rev. Francis Wahle_AJR)

Francis said in an interview at the age of 90: "They were able to slip away and go into hiding and survived. With two children, none of us would have. And if we had been taken, we would have been sent to Auschwitz and we would have been dead by the end of that year.

"I’m 90 now. I’ve had 77 extra years; I know that because if they hadn’t sent us away I would have been dead at the end of 1942, like Anne Frank."

Karl Wahle went on to become a Supreme Court Judge and later First President of the Supreme Court.

Francis read Economics at UCL, followed by Chartered Accountancy and a career with the John Lewis Partnership. But at the age of 30, he studied for seven years in Rome, before being ordained in 1965.

He worked at Westminster Cathedral and as a Chaplain at Hammersmith Hospital before long and happy stints as a Parish Priest in Enfield then Queensway.

He said of his ordination: "I think, behind it all is probably a sense of gratitude. Without God’s doing, all four members of our family would have
been dead."

Michael Newman, CEO The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) said: “The AJR is deeply saddened to hear about the passing of our much-loved member Rev. Francis Wahle.

"The AJR is grateful to have had the opportunity to capture Francis’ testimony, both as part of our Refugee Voices archive and for our My Story collection.

"Capturing experiences like Francis’s helps preserve the record of the Holocaust and enables us all learn about his remarkable life and the contribution he made to his adopted home.  

"We will miss his warmth and positive outlook and are honoured to continue to tell his story as part of our work."

In his testimony to the AJR Francis said: "There are so many different things to experience. Even the things which are not good, you can still get something positive out of them."