Winton children plan to honour their parents’ courage

26-09-2016

There are plans to build a memorial dedicated to the parents of the so-called Winton children, who escaped death in Nazi gas chambers when they were sent abroad from Czechoslovakia shortly before the outbreak of WWII. A group of surviving “Winton children” want to pay tribute to their parents, who had the courage to let them go in order to save their lives. The memorial is to be situated at Prague’s Main Railway Station, close to a statue of Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the transports of 669, mostly Jewish children.

Visualisation of the memorial, photo: CTKVisualisation of the memorial, photo: CTK I spoke to journalist Judita Matyášová, one of the organizers of the project, and first asked her how the idea came about:

“I spoke with those children many times and they always said that Nicholas Winton did so much for them, organising the Kindertransports, but they never spoke about their parents. And it is the parents who are their heroes, because they decided to send them to England and they had no idea if it OK, if it is was the right decision. So they would like to show how thankful they are for this decision to their parents.

“They have been talking about this idea for several years, but it took them quite a long time, since they are no professional organizers, but they slowly found people who were willing to help them.”

Whose idea was it originally?

Judita Matyášová, photo: Eva DvořákováJudita Matyášová, photo: Eva Dvořáková “It is hard to say because they have been talking about it for a long time. But I think the main person behind the idea was Hug Marom, who lives in Israel and also Zuzana Marešová from the Czech Republic and Lady Milena Grenfell Baines who lives in England. So together they decided to erect this memorial in the building of the Main Railway station in Prague.”

Do you already know what the memorial will look like?

“They would like to create something like a copy of the original train doors. There will be a glass pane with small children’s hands and adults’ hands. It will be symbol of farewell between children and parents.”

Nicholas Winton, photo: Jiří HošekNicholas Winton, photo: Jiří Hošek They have a website with the basic story of the memorial valediction memorial.org where yu can find information how to donate.either though a Czech account or an international account so there you can see everything about the memorial.”

When would you like to unveil the memorial?

“They would like to present the memorial in January next year, which would be great, because it would coincide with the International Day of Victims of the Holocaust or during spring or summer, which was the time when Winton trains left for England. So they are hoping they can present it in the first half of 2017.”

26-09-2016