To the Rescue

Winton and Jewish child, 1939 ...A documentary about “the last rescuer” of the Holocaust will be shown by its Slovakian director at Moravian tonight.

It celebrates the actions of Nicholas Winton, a British embassy worker in Prague who provided entry visas to England for almost 700 Jewish children just before the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Nicholas Winton: The Power of Good will be introduced by its director, Matej Minac, and its editor and co-producer, Patrik Pass. They are also the makers of a feature film, All My Loved Ones (2002), in which 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.

1993, shaking hands with President Vaslav Havel “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 visiting friends in Prague when the German situation became critical. With some knowledge of the fate of Germany’s Jews, he helped issue British travel documents to Jewish children—and when he could not do legally, provided false passports. He also arranged for foster homes for the duration of the war. Very few of the children ever saw their parents again, as the Jews of Czechoslovakia were largely liquidated in the concentration camps.

He 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. Only then did his compassionate act become known.

Minac, a Slovakian Jew whose mother was executed at Auschwitz, 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 Minac talked to Gissing during the filming of All My Loved Ones, which is based on the story of his own family, he was surprised to find out that Winton was still alive and in good health.

So, after finishing All My Loved Ones, he went back and made a full-length documentary about Winton’s courageous actions.

The Power of Good

  • 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 26
  • Prosser Auditorium, HUB
  • Reception for the filmmakers follows in the lounge
  • Information: Ext. 1680

November 26, 2002

Betty and Pancho
Preview of Payne Gallery exhibit, works by Elizabeth Catlett and Francisco Mora.

Facing the Music
Student composer Melissa Spangenberg '03 writes another piece for Christmas Vespers.
To the Rescue
American premiere of documentary about Holocaust rescuer Nicholas Winton.
Easy Riders
Cyclist Ashley Kimmet '03 and runner/Olympic aspirant Emily Shertzer '02 win scholarships.
A la Mode
Pennies for Human Sundae competition benefit Habitat for Humanity
Achievements of faculty, staff, students.