Home > About > News and Events > News Releases > News Releases 2002 > Film on "The Last Rescuer" of the Holocaust to be Shown at Moravian College
News Release

Film on "The Last Rescuer" of the Holocaust to be Shown at Moravian College

Director and editor to speak

Winner of 2002 International Emmy Award for Documentary

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the winners of the 30th International New York City on Monday, November 25, 2002.
"Nicholas Winton - The Power of Good" by Matej Minac & Patrik Pass was selected in the category of documentary.

WIP/Trigon Production/Czech Television/Slovak Television (Slovak Republic) Synopsis: This film is the story of the courage and determination of one man who in 1939 saved 669 Czechoslovak Jewish children from the hands of the Nazis. For fifty years, Mr. Winton (aged 93) did not tell anyone about his rescue mission, not even his wife. Mr. Winton appears with a dozen of the children as Canadian CBC reporter Joe Schlesinger and film director Karel Reisz tell his story for the first time.

(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) - The Power of Good, a documentary film about Nicolas Winton, a British diplomat who provided entry visas to England for more than 700 Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, will be shown at Moravian College at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 27, in Prosser Auditorium in the Haupert Union

Building. A reception for the filmmakers will follow in the HUB lounge.

Nicolas Winton: The Power of Good will be introduced by its director, Matej Minac, and its editor and co-producer, Patrik Pass, who are also the makers of a feature film, All My Loved Ones (2002), about a Jewish family under the German occupation. In this film, Winton is a secondary character who helps a Czech Jewish family realize that the Nazi threat is real and that its children must be sent out of the country to survive.

"This event, held on the evening before Thanksgiving Break, is indeed an ideal time to consider what one could be grateful for," says Anne Dutlinger, assistant professor of art and chairman of the Art Department, which is co-sponsoring the film. "We think that the story of Winton has great appeal for a present-day audience, especially students," says Minac. "It shows that an individual has great power and can change history in a very positive way."

Winton was a junior member of the British embassy staff in Prague at the start of World War II. Realizing what the Nazis planned for the Jews of Europe, he issued British travel documents to Jewish children-and when he could not do so according to the letter of British immigration law, he provided false passports. He also helped assure that the children were placed in foster homes until their parents could claim them. However, very few of the children ever saw their parents again, as the Jews of Czechoslovakia were largely destroyed in the concentration camps.

Winton told no one of his actions for almost 50 years after the war. In the late 1990s, his wife, cleaning their attic as they prepared to move to a retirement home, found a box of passport applications and children's photographs. She asked him where they had come from, and only then did his heroic act become known.

In 1998, he was interviewed on BBC television, in front of an audience of his "children" who had been assembled secretly by the talk-show's producer. After Winton spoke in the most diffident terms about the three trainloads of children that he had sent from Prague, the interviewer asked if anyone in the audience had anything to add to his story. The audience members rose to their feet, overwhelming the old man, who began to cry as he hugged them. This poignant moment is show in the epilogue to All My Loved Ones.

Minac, a Slovakian Jew, calls Winton "the last rescuer," comparable to Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg, and wonders why no filmmaker before him was attracted to Winton's story. He had learned of Winton's role in his own survival by chance in "two tiny paragraphs" of a book called Pearls of Childhood by Vera Gissing, who had been one of Winton's children. When he talked to Gissing during the filming of All My Loved Ones, which is the story of his own family, he was surprised to find out that Winton was alive and in good health. He was able to obtain footage of the television interview and incorporate it into the feature film. Then he went back and made a full-length documentary about Winton's heroism.

Dutlinger, who has been instrumental in bringing the film and its makers to Moravian, curated the 2000 Payne Gallery exhibit Art, Music and Education as Strategies for Survival:: Theresienstadt 1941-45 and a frequent speaker about this concentration camp where Jewish artists and children created art, music, drama, and literature almost until the end of the war. In 1944 the population of Terezín was deported to Auschwitz.

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Art Department, the student programming board IMPACT, the Chaplain's Office, the Art Club, and the Political Forum, in cooperation with the Honorable Consul General of the Czeck Republic (Philadelphia). For more information, call 610 861-1491