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EDITIONS
 Breakfast with Frost
Sir Nicholas Winton
Sir Nicholas Winton
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW:
SIR NICHOLAS WINTON & LORD DUBS
JANUARY 5TH, 2003

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST:
The term unsung hero is much overused but in the case of Nicholas Winton, it could not be more apt. Just over 50 years ago when Europe was on the edge of war, Adolph Hitler began the process of exterminating the Jews. While most outside Germany and Eastern Europe were transfixed by the horror, or disbelieving that such a monstrous scheme was being put into action, a handful of brave and determined individuals worked to get Jewish children out of danger in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria, and onto trains that would bear them to safety in Britain. A young Englishman called Nicholas Winton got more than 600 children out - 600 youngsters who would have surely perished had they not been spirited away. Nicholas Winton is now Sir Nicholas. When we read about him being knighted in this year's New Year's honours list, we felt we must have him with us, we must salute him. And with him is Alf Dubs, Lord Dubs, one of those youngsters he spirited away half a century ago. Sir Nicholas, this is such a well-deserved honour. When did the story begin, in 1938?

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
Well the end of '38, end of '38, beginning of '39, over Christmas 38/39, I was in Prague, yes.

DAVID FROST:
And what was it you saw that made you think, people don't seem to be doing very much, I can do something?

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
Well I suppose the chief impact was when I went round the camps. I mean it was a very cold winter, people were in Nissan huts and all those people who had fled from Sudetenland into Czechoslovakia and who hadn't got either relatives or friends were put into Nissan Huts. And that's where one really could see that things were pretty bad.

DAVID FROST:
And so how did you set about, I mean how does one set about rescuing 600 or more children? How did you do it?

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
Well the chief thing was to get it organised in Prague, to make certain that if I could get permission to bring them into England there would be an operation in Prague which could function. And there were five committees in Prague looking after the various types of people who were in danger - it was the Jewish and the communists and the writers and the pen club and the people on Hitler's black list - and it was a question of they all had their lists of people who were in danger. So it was a question of really co-ordinating them to start with and then saying well if when I get back to England the Home Office let them in, will let them in, we can be in business.

DAVID FROST:
And when did you next see those children?

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
Well I didn't actually see them - I saw some of them when I was in Prague but not by any means all of them. I really only saw all the children when they arrived at Liverpool Street Station and that was between March and the beginning of September.

DAVID FROST:
And they were found - they were accepted into this country - and they were found accommodation.

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
Well there were 10,000 children that came in from Germany that came in under kind of a mass arrangement by the foreign, by the Home Office, allowing them to come in and they were put into camps and then they were found homes. The conditions of bringing children in from Czechoslovakia was different in so far as I wasn't allowed to bring in a single child unless I had a home that would look after them until the end of the emergency.

DAVID FROST:
And then, when you've met them since, it must be a very emotional time for them and for you.

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
I didn't - I didn't meet them for over fifty years.

DAVID FROST:
Because for 50 years you didn't talk about it. When did your wife find out about it?

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
Well I didn't talk about it, I mean when I couldn't operate with the Czech children any more, the war started. There was plenty then doing it. At the end of the war, as far as I knew, there were none of the children in England any more, because one of the conditions under which they brought them was that they had to leave at the end of the emergency.

DAVID FROST:
One of those, one of those children is here today. I mean when did you first meet this great man?

LORD DUBS:
Well I, only a few years ago. I knew nothing about who'd brought me over, I knew I'd come over on a kinder transport and I'd arrived at Liverpool Street. I was six years old, whether we met at Liverpool Street or not, I don't know. But we met five or six years ago and we've met lots of times since. And can I say it's a wonderful thing to meet somebody who saved my life, it's a special, special occasion for me on every time I've met him and I'm delighted by the honour, it is long overdue and a tremendously important thing that it happened.

DAVID FROST:
And every time you meet him your mind goes back to the fact that, well there would be no Dubs family, without Nicholas?

LORD DUBS:
Absolutely. I owe him my life, as do all six or seven hundred of us, and it was quite an emotional thing meeting him for the first time because, you know, suddenly I was introduced to the person who had actually been responsible for getting me to safety.

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
I'm glad it's become normal now.

LORD DUBS:
Well we've met often enough, but it's, I'm delighted every time we do have a chance to meet, but it's a very special thing, there are not many people who can sit here and say this man saved my life, I owe my life to him. That's, that's unusual and it's important to me.

DAVID FROST:
That's unusual, and special to us too. Thank you for being with us today, we really appreciate it. The only thing I can scarcely believe in this whole story is that you're 93. I mean if we're as fit as this man when we're 73, we'll be very happy.

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
Well I've got the answer to that.

DAVID FROST:
What's that?

SIR NICHOLAS WINTON:
You have to choose the right parents.

DAVID FROST:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you so much.

INTERVIEW ENDS

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