Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Thursday, 3 September 2009 17:10 UK

Winton's children: Alf Dubs


Lord Alfred Dubs: 'I was pretty terrified'

Alf Dubs was six when the German army arrived in Prague, and his father abruptly left for London.

That was March 1939, the month the first of Nicholas Winton's trains carrying Jewish children to safety left Czechoslovakia.

His mother put the future MP and Labour peer on one of the eight trains that left Prague between then and the outbreak of war on 1 September.

His father was at Liverpool Street to meet him, after the 48-hour journey.

"I had a knapsack of food that I hadn't touched throughout the entire journey so it must have been quite traumatic," he remembers.

His mother was at first refused permission to leave Prague - a cause of great anxiety.

She eventually got an exit visa and joined them in the UK, but not long afterwards Alf's father died.

'A great man'

"It was quite tough for her... no husband, no money, no family - nothing," he says.

Alf Dubs went into politics, he says, because he realised that if it could be a force for evil it could also be a force for good.

He was an MP for Battersea from 1979 to 1987, and became a peer in 1994.

He was also director of the Refugee Council from 1988 to 1995 and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office from May 1997 to December 1999.

"I would think that without any doubt I owe my life to Nicholas Winton. I think my chance of surviving and that of the others would have been pretty slim. I mean being Jewish in German-occupied Czechoslovakia was not a recipe for survival.

"All the other Jews we knew went to concentration camps - the ones who stayed in Prague - and the majority didn't survive."

He describes Nicholas Winton as a "great man".

"Anybody who saves your life is by definition a great man," he says.

"But I think he's a fantastic person... A phenomenal individual, one of the really great human beings."

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