Winton Train - Inspirace dobrem

9-10 2009 Ostatní česky
obálka čísla

Hlavní nádraží 1. září 2009. Na peróně je plno lidí. Novináři, důležití řečníci, zvědavci, ale hlavně “děti”. Je jim dnes o 70 let více než tehdy, když takovým vlakem odsud odjížděly do bezpečí v Anglii. Jsou rozechvělé, dojaté a vzaly s sebou na jakousi vzpomínkovou jízdu mnohdy i své děti a vnoučata. Přijely nejen z Anglie, ale i z USA, Izraele a dalších zemí, kam je zavál milosrdný osud, který je zachránil od velmi pravděpodobné smrti v plynových komorách nacistů. Osud na sebe vzal podobu mladého muže jménem Nicolas Winton. Těsně před vypuknutím války odvezl do Anglie zvláštními vlaky téměř 700 židovských dětí a našel jim tam náhradní rodiče. (Jejich vlastní rodiče se většinou konce války nedožili.)

Jeho příběh jsme již v našem časopise čtenářům přibližovali několikrát. Jen připomínám, že tento úžasně humánní a skromný muž o svých zásluhách nikomu nikdy nevyprávěl. Až jeho manželka po mnoha letech jednou při úklidu našla kufřík plný dokladů...

Režisér Martin Mináč natočil jeho příběh pod názvem Všichni moji blízcí. Pan Winton byl anglickou královnou pasován na rytíře a od prezidenta Václava Havla dostal řád T. G. Masaryka. Letos v květnu oslavil 100. narozeniny. A za pár dní bude čekat na svůj vlak v Londýně...

Nyní dvě parní lokomotivy houkají a z komínu se kouří. Strojvůdce přihazuje uhlí do kotle a mává za sebe, naznačuje, že už by se mělo jet. Koukám ještě do salonního vagónu. Hezké, třicátá léta měla smysl pro krásu.

Lidé-děti nastupují a vlak se dává do pohybu. Máváme si navzájem a na obou stranách se objevují v očích slzičky. Já stojím na jakémsi podstavci, abych lépe viděla a koukám jestli zahlédnu naší milou zástupkyni pro Velkou Británi, se kterou jsem se před chvíli na perónu loučila.

Milena Fleischmannová tehdy odjížděla a bylo jí devět let, spolu se svou sestrou Evou (tři a půl roku) a sestřenicí (dva a půl roku). Každá starší se starala o tu mladší. Ta maličká prý pořád říkala: nebudu bečet, nebudu bečet, jak jí asi radili rodiče...

Sestry Fleischmannovy měly mimořádné štěstí. Jejich rodičům se podařilo dostat se do Anglie, ostatní děti své rodiče již nikdy nespatřily, neboť zahynuli v koncentračních táborech.

A už vidím kupé s Milenou, mávám... dnes je to Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines a následující řádky jsou plny jejích čerstvých dojmů z této cesty:

This was to be my second most important journey of my life.

70 Years ago, I stood on the platform of ‘hlavni nadrazi’ It was night and I was saying good bye to my parents and grandparents. I was 9 years old, my sister Eva was three and a half and my cousin Helen two and a half.

My memories of that night and that journey is very distant but I know it was night – a message from my grandfather written into my autograph book which I treasure was written at 9pm, on July 31st…I never saw him, my grandmother and other members of my family again.

Now 70 years later I once again stood on the platform, this time with my grown up sister who still had the rucksack from her first journey and my 52year old son waiting to recreate the journey together with a number of passengers who had also been saved those many years ago.

And saved we were – though we did not discover this until 40 years later by a mannow Sir Nicholas Winton, then a young stockbroker who took it upon himself to organise and save nearly 700 hundred young Jewish children from certain extermination. With the help of friends and within a few months he organised seven trains to bring us all to safety and to new families who cared for us throughout the war years.

In our case, Mr and Mrs Radcliffe whom we were later to call ‘mammy and daddy Radcliffe’ sent their own daughter to live with her grandmother as they only had two bedrooms. Originally they only wanted to take one child but decided not to have us separated.

At the end of the war practically all the children discovered they were orphans – the holocaust had killed their parents, siblings –all members of their families.

My sister and I were one of the few lucky ones. Both our parents escaped to Britain.

Now here we were on a train which took two years to organise thanks to a vision of a director of the Czech Railways – Zbynek Honys- inspired to do this because a doctor – grandson of one of the saved children had saved the life of his son. Planning to take a steam train across Europe needed a major reorganisation of time tables – taking on water required the assistance of firemen bringing water to the sidings where the train had to stop every three hours – wheels had to be oiled- passengers descended to stretch their legs but strict timetables adhered to.

But what of us. We were 22 from the USA, Israel, Australia, France, Czech Republic and the UK. All of us had brought along members of our families, sons, daughters, grandchildren to represent the 669 saved those many years ago. Most of us met for the first time though in my case three of my –still- friends were with us. We had spent our wartime years in a Czechoslovak School in Wales where there were about 120 children, many of us still in touch.

I learnt for the first time from Dasa Simova that we had travelled in the same carriage with the rest of the group envying my little sisters curly hair and passing my two and a half year old cousin Helen around to be nursed – the older ones had to look after the younger ones.

We gathered in groups in the dining cars which were admirably administered by the Hungarian crew who ran the train. Books could be written listening to the stories and lives of all the passengers. Those of us, like me, whose memories of the first journey were almost dream-like, and all my sister remembered was being sick on the boat - were able to talk to the ‘older ones’ who at then 11 years and more – the oldest being 16- were able to fill gaps with information long forgotten or never remembered….

Earlier, I wrote that it had taken 40 years to discover the man who saved us – I can’t say –find- we had no idea where to look – none of us knew for years how we came to be on that train until one day, in the eighties Greta Winton, married to Nicholas by then for many years, was clearing out the attic and came across a suitcase full of documents, photographs and letters. These were our lives – saved – but unsung – by this man – today one hundred years old.

Finally we had found the person who saved us and for the past 25years ‘Nicky’ as

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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