“One Life” – and then another

Photo: The cover of the new edition of Barbara’s biography of her father, and the film of the same name.

350 words / 1 ½ minute read

In 2013 Sir Nicholas Winton wrote this Preface to his daughter Barbara’s book “If It’s Not Impossible”:

“I have discovered things from reading this book that I never knew about my own family, as well as rediscovering episodes long forgotten.  I had questions myself about certain incidents in my past, and I have found the answers here.  It is strange to realise that Barbara knows more about my life now than I do.

“Having a daughter write my biography may mean that it is not unbiased, but you would have to read it to find out!”

Martin and I met Sir Nicky and Barbara in 2005 when Martin was writing his book Kristallnacht.  It was a wonderful afternoon in Sir Nicky’s home and Martin encouraged Barbara to write her father’s biography. Her book was published in 2014.

The book has been republished as “One Life:  The True Story of Sir Nicholas Winton” in conjunction with the film “One Life” with Anthony Hopkins playing Winton in his later years.  At Sir Nicky’s memorial service in 2015 (he died only five months after Martin), Barbara whispered to me that Anthony Hopkins would play her father in the film.  Neither Barbara nor Nicky lived to see the film, but the children he saved, and their children and grandchildren and all of us can learn from his remarkable and important example.

 One of those 699 children rescued by Sir Nicky and his group was Joe Schlesinger.  When I came to Canada in the early 1980s, Joe Schlesinger had been here for thirty years, and became the foreign correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).  Although he died in 2019, I can still here his voice and distinctive Czech accent.  I didn’t know then about Sir Nicky and Joe’s history, that Joe and his younger brother Ernest had been brought to Britain.  Josef was eleven; Ernest was 9.  They are numbers 469 and 470 on Winton’s list that Barbara has put online, click here.  Their parents were two of the six million killed.

For more on Barbara Winton: Click Here

Read: Kristallnacht

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