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"How We Escaped Hitler"
story of Joe Schlesinger and P.C. Newman; hosted by Hana
Evening dedicated to Sir Nicholas Winton on the occasion of his 100 birthdays
The Consulate General of the Czech Republic in cooperation with British Consulate General in Toronto and CzechTourism Canada will present How We Escaped Hitler - an unforgettable evening with Joe Schlesinger and Peter C. Newman two icons of Canadian Journalism, who will recount their dramatic childhood escapes from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Hosted by CBC Fifth Estate's Hana Gartner, this stellar evening will also feature a screening of Nicholas Winton: The Power of Good, an International Emmy Award-winning documentary by Matej Minac about the life of Nicholas Winton, a British stockbroker who saved 669 Jewish children including Joe Schlesinger - from certain death in Nazi concentration camps.
The event will be held on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 7:00 pm at Innis Town Hall Theatre, University of Toronto.
This year the Czech Republic will mark the 70th anniversary of two historical events that happened only one day apart in March 1939: On March 14th, 1939, the first rescue train of Jewish children left Prague for England. The very next day, on March 15th, 1939, the Nazi army marched into Prague, turning democratic Czechoslovakia into the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia". This initiated six dark years of terror and brutality. The news of the Holocaust and concentration camps brought unimaginable fear and desperation into the households of Czechoslovak Jews. Many of them had to make the agonizing decision to allow their children to leave on the trains organized by Mr. Winton and saved their lives, even though they knew they might never see them again.
Mr. Winton organized eight train transports from Prague to the UK, where the children were eagerly welcomed by foster families all over Great Britain. By the onset of WWII, on September 1st, 1939, Winton had rescued 669 Jewish children. The last train ninth scheduled to leave Prague on September 1, never reached its destination. Over two hundred innocent young lives were lost, leaving their prospective foster parents to wait on the Liverpool St. Station platform in vain. For decades, the rescued children had no idea who had saved their lives. In his modesty, Winton did not even tell his wife about his efforts. When the story finally came to light, he was given several top honours including the Award of T.G. Masaryk from Czechoslovakia's President Vaclav Havel, and knighthood from the Queen. Sir Nicholas Winton, now 100 years old, still enjoys a quiet life with his family.
Joe Schlesinger and Peter C. Newman have graciously agreed to share their life-stories with our audience in lively discussion hosted by Hana Gartner. The program is enriched by a compelling photographic exhibition What Remained by Yuri Dojc. We are honoured to present these four remarkable Canadians, all of Czechoslovak origin.
For further information, please contact:
Michaela Vaclavinek Project Coordinator
Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto
Tel.: 416-972-9358 ext.11
The Consulate General of the Czech Republic thanks these project partners:
Mattoni, Pilsner Urquell, Bagelo's and TCT
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