In My Own Words with Barbara Winton, Daughter of Sir Nicholas Winton
“If something is not impossible, then there must be a way to do it” Sir Nicholas Winton
There are around 6000 people in the world today who owe their lives to Nicholas Winton. They are the descendants of a group of refugee children rescued by him from the Nazi threat in 1939.
In Prague, Winton saw for himself the full scale of the problem facing Jews in German-occupied Sudetenland. Refugee camps were filling with families forced from their homes. Occupants were struggling to survive the harsh European winter. He knew he needed to take action and organized a rescue operation that brought approximately 669 children, mostly Jewish, from Czechoslovakia to safety in Great Britain before the outbreak of World War II.
Independently of Operation Kindertransport Winton set up his own rescue operation. At first, Winton’s office was a dining room table at his hotel in Wenceslas Square in Prague. Anxious parents, who gradually came to understand the danger they and their children were in, came to Winton and placed the future of their children into his hands. Soon, an office was set up on Vorsilska Street, under the charge of Trevor Chadwick. Thousands of parents heard about this unique endeavor and hundreds of them lined up in front of the new office, drawing the attention of the Gestapo.
Winton contacted the governments of nations he thought could take in the children. Only Sweden and his own government said yes. Great Britain promised to accept children under the age of 18 as long as he found homes and guarantors who could deposit £50 for each child to pay for their return home.
Because he wanted to save the lives of as many of the endangered children as possible, Winton returned to London and planned the transport of children to Great Britain. He worked at his regular job on the Stock Exchange by day, and then devoted late afternoons and evenings to his rescue efforts, often working far into the night. He made up an organization, calling it “The British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Children’s Section.” The committee consisted of himself, his mother, his secretary, and a few volunteers.
Barbara Winton will join us live from England to share her father’s fascinating story in this live virtual event June 30, 2021.
Ms. Winton has painstakingly sifted through her father’s papers and talked to family and friends to construct a detailed account of his whole life. It explores the influences on his character as well as the historical events he was caught up in. Taken from his historical letters and writings, Winton’s own words are introduced to convey the atmosphere of many of his diverse experiences, her book, If its’s Not Impossible…The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton” was published in 2014.
Registration is required for this event.
About Our Speaker
Barbara Winton is the daughter and biographer of the late Sir Nicholas Winton (1909-2015), who organized the Czech and Slovak Kindertransport that rescued 669 endangered children from the Nazi threat just months before the outbreak of the Second World War. Sir Nicholas was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 for Services to Humanity. Barbara wrote his biography: If it’s Not Impossible…The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton, published in 2014.
Since then Barbara has continued to give talks about her father’s work, its impact today, and how his legacy can be continued. She has formed the Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial Trust to hold his archives for educational use into the future.
Alongside this, she campaigns for the rights of today’s refugees especially children, in particular supporting the work of Safe Passage and Lord Alf Dubs, himself a Czech Kindertransport child.
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