President Mylle West welcomed many members to the first Retford Ladies Probus Club meeting of the new year. She then introduced Tim Mulroy, who gave members a poignant insight into Kindertransport, which involved the removal of Jewish children to safe havens at the onset of World War II.
Sudetenland was a part of Czechoslovakia with a majority of Germans which Hitler wanted to invade, to supposedly support German interests. Enter Nicholas Winton, a young man of German Jewish parentage, educated in England, bilingual and baptised a Christian. He realised that news reports in England did not reflect what was really happening in Germany. Especially after the events of Kristillnacht in November 1938. After visiting a refugee camp in Sudetenland he decided, with the help of his mother and a friend to get as many children out as possible. At this point, the Germans had no objections as long as the paper work was correct. Britain would take an undefined number of children, but foster parents must put up a bond of £50.00.
For those who couldn’t afford it, Nicholas set about fundraising, himself a Rotarian. He created a list with 1,000 names (hence becoming known as the British Schindler) and in nine months he managed to get 669 children out. Sadly, the last train never left because war broke out. Tim is indebted to Nicholas because his father and aunt were among the lucky ones who made it to England. It took 50 years before Nicholas was finally recognised and then the accolades came pouring in. In 2015 he died peacefully in his sleep at the ripe old age of 106. Who said the good die young?
Retford Ladies Probus next meet on 14th February at Westfield Community Centre, Ordsall, at 10.00am for a 10.30am start. All are welcome.