Winton´s Trains exhibition opened in London
03.06.2011 / 13:45
On Saturday, 21 May 2011 an exhibition of large-format photos and documents was opened at London´s Liverpool Street Station. Two days earlier Sir Nicholas Winton has celebrated his 102nd birthday.
This exhibition is connected with the successful Winton Train 2009 - Inspiration of Goodness Project. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Winton’s rescue mission, during which 669 children of mostly Jewish origin were saved, the Winton Train traveling the original route from Prague to London was dispatched. On board the period train pulled by a steam locomotive were the descendants of the rescued “children” with their families. Both events were produced by Olga Menzelova Kelymanova.
Sir Nicholas Winton and his family and the Winton's Children and their family members were present at the opening. The Ambassador Michael Žantovský, one of the project patrons, held the opening speech, as well as Lady Grenfell-Baines, one of the rescued children, Olga Menzelova and Prague Councillor Jan Kalousek.
The event was followed by a reception hosted by the Ambassador Žantovský and his wife Jana. The Lord Mayor of the City of London Michael Bear with his wife and Jiri Menzel, film and theatre director, were among the guests.
On the next day, unfortunately an unexpected strong wind of 112 km/h came and the exhibition system was destroyed. The restoration has been organised and the panels are stored at the Czech Embassy before re-installation.
..."There is a difference between passive goodness and active goodness, which is, in my opinion, the giving of one's time and energy in the alleviation of pain and suffering. It entails giving out, finding out, and helping those, who are suffering and in danger, and, not merely in leading an exmplary life in a purely passive way by doing no wrong." Nicholas Winton, from a letter to his friend, 1939
Undertitled Winton's Trains - Photographs and documents of the children who were allowed to live and of a history which,sadly is still present, the exhibition presents the facts surrounding and the emotions associated with the outstanding journey of the Winton Train after many years.
Documentary materials and photographs are accompanied by explanatory texts. Maps and documents on the Fascist ideology leading to the persecution of the Jews, pogroms and the tragic impact of Crystal Night will remind young ones of the dramatic moments of recent history coming back to life today through the fanatic ideologies of nationalism.
The pictures show children’s faces and their travel documents; they capture the life of Nicholas Winton before the train’s first departure in 1938 and they document the concentration camps of Auschwitz – Birkenau, portraying the horrific conditions under which the children there lived.
Testimony of contemporary Winton children living in the Czech Republic is displayed. It offers pictures from visits to their homes, their recent portraits and explores lives of their families. It includes remarkable detailed photo documentation of the Winton Train journey from Prague to London with all its four stops in Germany and Holland and the powerful confrontation of 1939 in 2009.
It also shows Sir Nicholas Winton – who for hundreds of children is their only, yet not merely symbolic, father…
The photographs capture the highly emotive meeting with Sir Nicholas as well provide a glance into his contemporary home in Maidenhead.