After 77 years, Kindertransport refugee reveals how Sir Nicholas Winton saved her life
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

After 77 years, Kindertransport refugee reveals how Sir Nicholas Winton saved her life

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

IMG_4992
Susie Lind speaking with Natasha Kaplinsky

by Justin Cohen

A great grandmother who fled the Nazis thanks to Sir Nicholas Winton has spoken publicly for the first time about her experiences as part of a ground breaking documentary to be screened by the BBC tonight.

Susie Lind was one of 669 children rescued by the man dubbed the British Schindler – escaping on the penultimate train out of Czechoslovakia in May 1939. But the 91-year-old had not spoken in detail about her experiences for nearly eighty years, eventually doing so last year in response to a call from the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation for survivors to record their testimony.

She is among those featured in Children Saved from the Nazis: The story of Sir Nicholas Winton which tells the rescue operation through original footage and testimony from him and those he saved, including heartbreaking recollections of the moment they were separated from their parents.

“My father wasn’t able to see me off as he was totally heartbroken,” Susie recalled after a preview of the film. “My mother saw me off and I knew I would never see them again. I’ve still got a handkerchief with which my mother wiped away my tears before putting it in my pocket.”

She insisted that subsequent generations musty learn the lessons of the darkest chapter in recent history, saying: “It should never happen again in whatever direction it falls.”

While she attended two events with Sir Nicholas in London before his death at the age of 106 last year, the reserved Susie said she didn’t want to push herself in front of others to talk to him. “I would have thanked him for my long life and my innumerable family because with him I wouldn’t have had that,” Susie said.

While she had been nervous about giving her testimony in the first place, she said she couldn’t turn down her granddaughter Katie’s request to do so and that she was put at ease by broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky – who has been conducting interviews with dozens of survivors for the Foundation. Susie – who was 14 when she left Prague and was later reunited with her sister in London – said: “I had only previously told my daughters the basics of what happens. I’ve waited many years to speak and it’s brought me great relief.”

The moving documentary chronicles the refugees’ journey from before the war through to emotional goodbyes to parents in Czechoslovakia to their arrival in the UK, after which most would never see their parents again. It also hears from Esther Rantzen, who fronted the famous episode of That’s Life that brought dozens of the evacuees face to face with their saviour for the first time.

Sir Eric Pickles, the prime minister’s envoy on post-Holocaust issues, said: “Sir Nicholas stands for what this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is all about – not standing by. He was remarkable not because he recognised the evil nature of the Nazi regime but because he did something about it.”

Kaplinsky urged those who had not yet recorded testimony to come forward.

  • Made in association with Czech and Slovak television and updated for the BBC, the documentary will be screened 27 January at 10.45pm on BBC One.

 

 

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments