Spirit of ‘British Schindler’ invoked over Calais

Barbara Winton makes a plea for the refugees in Calais. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Barbara Winton makes a plea for the refugees in Calais. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA
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The daughter of a hero dubbed the “British Oskar Schindler” has called for the same compassion he displayed to be shown to the Calais young refugees.

Barbara Winton, whose father was Sir Nicholas Winton, said the “most appropriate way” of honouring the memory of one of the nation’s great humanitarians would be to provide a safe haven for the imperilled minors.

Winton facilitated the escape of 669 mainly Jewish children from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War.

It is estimated 6,000 people today owe their lives to him.

Among those saved by Winton was Lord Dubs, who years later would help secure a commitment from the government to accept more lone child refugees.

The intervention by Winton’s daughter came as many youngsters had their future thrown into further uncertainty after demolition teams swept through the so-called Jungle camp.

French president François Hollande yesterday urged Britain to take its share of responsibility for migrant children still in Calais.

In a letter posted on the Help Refugees website, Barbara Winton wrote: “My father, Nicholas Winton, witnessed the appalling conditions children were enduring in the refugee camps in Czechoslovakia in 1939 and determined to give them the chance of a better, safer life by bringing them to Britain.

“In recent years since the story of what my father achieved became public, he has been honoured and praised for the stand he took and the lives he rescued.

“Though he appreciated the accolades for his earlier work, he remained focused on the pressing issues of the day. He continued to act and help others throughout his life and believed that actively assisting those in need was the most rewarding and ethical way to live.

“I believe that the most appropriate way of honouring his memory would be to show the same concern and compassion he did then, for those in danger and in need now.”

The German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who died in 1974, saved an estimated 1,200 Jews from the Nazis.