Nationalism is growing. People won’t want to divide, warned Nicholas Winton’s son

“That was the first time I found out what my father had done. He was already 78 years old. I asked him why he kept it a secret from us for almost fifty years,” said his son Nick at a talk in the Municipal Library in Prague. “I didn’t hide it, I just didn’t talk about it,” his father replied.

The liars have done it again: They pass off the footage from the filming of the film about Winton as reality

According to his descendant, this is a good message for today, when we constantly need to tell everyone what good and important things we have done or how smart we are. His father simply had no such need. The descendants of his saved children – 5,500 grandchildren and great-grandchildren – owe their lives to Winton.

Winton’s Child: Lady Remoska

Mileně Grenfell-Baines, née Fleischmann, is already 93 years old today. He is one of the few surviving children that Sir Winton saved. She too only found out about her savior in 1988. In the famous scene from the BBC show, she sat right next to him and later often visited him at his home.

People know her by the nickname Lady Remoska, because she helped the Czech manufacturer of this baking pot penetrate the British market. When the Czech filmmakers dedicated a Cessna flight to him for his 103rd birthday, Milena also sat on it. To her surprise, Winton took control of the plane after take off. “For half an hour I raced with a hundred-three-year-old pilot. When Nicky got out of the Cessna, he just stated calmly: ‘You can’t forget flying. It’s the same as riding a bike,'” she recalled now at the end of October 2022 in Prague.

Story rescuing Czechoslovak children from the Nazi-occupied homeland he is well known today thanks to many documentaries and several films based on his themes. Therefore, the talk mainly touched on the current refugee crisis and also future refugee waves.

Record number of refugees

One of the guests, the director of the non-profit Organization for Refugee Aid Martin Rozumek, recalled that there are currently the most refugees in the world in history. Their number will exceed one hundred million in 2022, which is roughly one percent of the entire human population. “If the two great dictators, Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin, would disappear from their posts, we could have more than twenty million fewer refugees,” he said.

In this context, Winton the younger warned against the growing nationalism in the world. “In difficult times, it is somewhat understandable that people want to take care of themselves first and foremost. But it doesn’t work in this completely connected world. If you pull out a drawbridge to save yourself, you’re likely to do more harm than good,” he said, adding that it is necessary to learn to work together and not see compromise as a sign of weakness, but strength.

Nicholas Winton's daughter, Barbara Winton, accepted a commemorative postage stamp with her father's portrait, issued by Czech Post as a tribute to his heroic act, on September 15, 2015 in Prague

Barbara Winton has died. The daughter of the savior of Jewish children was 68 years old

Rozumek recalled another important figure: according to him, 8.8 refugees out of ten are in the developing world. “They don’t have a chance to get to us, to the rich world. There are no legal routes, smugglers are very expensive. Only the richer and more educated will get here, and they mean a great benefit to us,” he said. According to him, they are the best example Ukrainian refugees, mostly mothers with children.

“It is estimated that there are around 320,000 of them here, while almost a hundred thousand already have a job from which they pay social and health insurance. In addition, over thirty percent of them are university students, i.e. the Ukrainian elite,” he added, adding that the Czechia makes little use of it so far and requires various certificates and certifications for many positions.

In the photo, Nicholas Winton Jr., Fedor Gál and Martin Rozumek.In the photo, Nicholas Winton Jr., Fedor Gál and Martin RozumekSource: Veronika Kameníková, Partnership Foundation

The translator Halina Torchilo escaped in the first week of the war. She has been living in the Czech Republic since March, and at the interview she confirmed how difficult it is to apply even for university-educated refugees. “In my homeland, I worked as a translator from English into Ukrainian. Yes, I have excellent English, but of course I need to translate into Czech here. Lawyers are similar. If they don’t deal with international law, they have experience with a completely different legal system than the Czech one,” she described, adding that she currently makes a living from private language courses.

As described by Nicholas Winton Jr., in Great Britain, refugees face yet another problem. As many economic migrants come to his homeland, war refugees get lost among them and the British cannot distinguish between them. “So people who are in desperate need of help are being treated as if they’ve only come here to get some benefits,” he said.

Escape from war and climate change

According to Martin Rozumek, the number of so-called climate refugees, i.e. those fleeing adverse climatic conditions in their country, will continue to increase. It is said that this motive is already being woven into the Syrian refugee wave. “When you talk to these migrants, they often explain their flight not only by being afraid of Bashar Assad’s military units, but also by the fact that it hasn’t rained in two years.”

According to data from the Organization for Refugees climate change they expel hundreds of thousands of people every year, especially from sub-Saharan African countries. “Climate change is leading to an inevitable outcome: Some parts of the planet will be uninhabitable and people will look for places to live elsewhere. And residents who have a place to live will not want to share with people in need due to the growing nationalism in the world. I don’t know how to solve this,” said Nicholas Winton Jr.

Planting Sir Nicholas Winton's Alley in Račiněvsi na Roudnick

In Račiněvsi, volunteers planted an alley in honor of Sir Nicholas Winton

Sociologist Fedor Gál puts the blame for the reluctance to accept refugees on political elites, hatred spreading on social networks, and also the lack of spirituality in people’s lives. “We are all ‘us’, the inhabitants of this planet. But some of us don’t sit behind a crowded desk. Science will not lead us out of this morass, but faith, which does not have to be religion,” the sociologist pointed out.

But according to him, people lack the spiritual side. “Because what does an overfed European believe today? What is his spirituality?” Gál also asked.

The world has the most refugees in history

The number of refugees exceeded one hundred million people in 2022. They are fleeing war conflicts, violence, human rights violations, but also because of the climate. Half of them are displaced within their own country, the other half abroad. More than two-thirds of refugees come from just six countries: Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, South Sudan, Myanmar and Ukraine. 11 million inhabitants have already fled from it.

So far, the largest refugee crisis has been recorded in Syria, where 13 million citizens left their homes – half went to another part of their country, the other half went abroad. Turkey, Colombia, Uganda and Pakistan host the most refugees, followed by Germany in the European Union.