Prague, March 7 (CTK) – A monument in honour of the “Winton children’s” parents, or the Czechoslovak Jews who saved their offspring by putting them on trains in pre-war Prague and dispatching them to an unknown future abroad, will be unveiled at the Main Railway Station on May 27, daily Pravo writes yesterday.
The trains were organised by Nicholas Winton (1909-2015), a British humanitarian worker in Prague, in 1939. Winton saved over 669 Jewish children who would have otherwise probably perished in the Nazi-controlled Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
“We had an opportunity to thank Niky, which is how we call Nicholas Winton, for what he did for us. However, we never could thank our parents, since most of them died,” Zuzana Maresova told Pravo, explaining why she and other Winton’s children decided to have a monument to their parents installed.
Maresova left Prague for Britain at the age of seven on a train dispatched by Winton in July 1939, leaving her family behind.
She said her and other parents’ courage to send their children away shows their unselfish love. With their decision, they gave life to their children for the second time.
“That is why we want to pay homage to them, though belatedly, and express our deep gratitude to them,” the initiators write on the project’s website.
The monument will have the shape of a train door, made of bronze and standing on a base with a commemorative plaque. The door’s glass filling will feature glass casts of adult hands touching the door from “outside” and children’s hands touching it as if from inside a train.
“Since my childhood, I have been tormented by the picture of a railway platform with weeping adults, which I saw from the departing train. Even though I later forgot why I went to Britain, this memory did not abandon me. When we recently discussed what shape the planned monument should have, it occurred to me to shape it as hands waving and touching glass, a train window,” Maresova is quoted as saying.
Unlike other Winton’s children, Maresova was lucky to reunite with her parents and two sisters in Britain after three years of stay with a British step family.