The Refugee Council will hold an exclusive charity screening of Nicky’s Family on 31 May, which tells the story of Sir Nicholas Winton who rescued 669 Jewish refugee children from persecution by the Nazis in Czechoslovakia in 1939. Esther Rantzen who features in the film, and Lord Alf Dubs, who was one of the children rescued by Winton, will speak at the event at The Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St. John’s Wood, London.
Originally from London, Sir Nicholas Winton, now 102 years old, arranged six trains to bring the children to the UK after seeing them in refugee camps, and persuaded the UK’s Home Office to allow them in. The 2011 film by Slovak director Matej Minac is due to be released later this year.
The screening, which is open to the public, is one of a range of events taking place to celebrate the 18th birthday of the Refugee Council’s Children’s Section in 2012. They have supported 18,000 refugee children since the service was set up in 1994, and all proceeds from the event will go towards continuing this work.
Esther Rantzen said:
“I first came across Sir Nicholas Winton’s incredible story when I was presenting That’s Life. His extraordinary achievement in saving so many children from the Holocaust is an inspiration to us all. Since that time, tragically, there have been millions more innocent victims of war and genocide, which is why I feel so strongly about the great work the Refugee Council is doing to support refugee children and adults to this day.”
Sir Nicholas Winton, whom the film is based on, said:
“I saw first hand the difficulties children were facing in refugee camps in Czechoslovakia before World War II, which spurred me into action. I am delighted the Refugee Council is showing this film to mark the work they too have been doing with refugee children. The world has changed a lot since 1939, but children coming here today from war torn countries, with no family or belongings, need all the support they can get, which is why I hope the Refugee Council can continue its great work with refugee children.”
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We are delighted to be screening this film about Sir Nicholas Winton’s extraordinary rescue mission for Jewish refugee children all those years ago. While the circumstances facing refugee children coming here today are very different, they face similar challenges in starting again in a strange country, far from family and friends. This year we are celebrating 18 years of supporting thousands of refugee children, and we are grateful to all those coming to this event to help us raise vital funds so we can carry on with this important work.”
Bob Kirk, President of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, said:
“Our Synagogue has a long and continuing tradition of involvement with the plight of refugees. In the 1930s our then Senior Rabbi arranged for dozens of German-Jewish refugees, especially children and young people, to come to Britain. Both my wife Ann and I arrived here in 1939 when, following Kristallnacht, almost 10 000 unaccompanied children were brought to this country from Germany and Austria through the Kindertransport. A number of them – including Ann – were sponsored and given a home by members of the congregation. Today we are delighted to be able to host this event at The LJS, and wish the Refugee Council every success in its work.”
Details of the event:
Date: 31 May, 2012
Time: 7pm for drinks reception and screening
Venue: The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, 28 St. John’s Wood Road London, NW8 7HA
Tickets: £15 (under 18s free)
Buy tickets here: www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/nickysfamily
Follow the discussion on Twitter at #childrefugees
Notes to editors
For further information please contact:
Philippa McIntyre, Refugee Council Media Officer
020 7346 1214/ 07956 636 219
Caroline Bach, Executive Director, The Liberal Jewish Synagogue
020 7286 5181
About the Refugee Council
The Refugee Council is the leading organisation working with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. The Children’s Section has been supporting separated children since 1994, to help them navigate the complex asylum system, and offering projects and activities to enable them to integrate into British life. Their work also includes supporting young people who are wrongly being treated as adults and are being held in detention centres, and victims of trafficking.
About the Liberal Jewish Synagogue
The Liberal Jewish Synagogue is located in St. John’s Wood, North West London. It is the oldest and largest Liberal Jewish community in the UK, having celebrated its centenary in 2011, and has been acclaimed as one of the world’s leading congregations. It is the founding congregation of Liberal Judaism in the UK and is allied to the World Union for Progressive Judaism – the world’s largest synagogue organisation with over 1.5 million members.