The legacy of Sir Nicholas Winton, who died July 1 at 106 years old, has passed on to one of the Jewish children saved from the Nazis. That person, Lord Weidenfeld, is now paying it forward by rescuing Middle Eastern Christians from ISIS control.
According to Tom Brooks-Pollock of the Independent, 95-year-old Weidenfeld stated that he had "a debt to repay" to Christians fleeing from the terror group known as ISIS. That's because the Quakers and the Plymouth Brethren helped him when he arrived in Britain back in 1938 thanks to Winton's efforts.
"I had a debt to repay," Weidenfeld said. "It applies to so many young people who were on the Kinderstransports. It was Quakers and other Christian denominations who brought those children to England."
Weidenfeld added that "it was very high-minded operation and we Jews should also be thankful and do something for the endangered Christians."
According to the Independent, Weidenfeld went on to establish the Weidenfeld and Nicolson publishing business; he was made a life peer in 1976. He set up the Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund, which recently supported the flight of 150 Syrian Christians to Poland on a privately chartered plane.
"The fund aims to offer 12-18 months of paid support to the refugees," Pollock wrote.
However, Pollock reported that Weidenfeld's project lacked support from the United States and other countries, given that it had the support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In addition, the project has been criticized for excluding Muslims who have also fled from ISIS.
"I can't save the world, but there is a very specific possibility on the Christian side," Weidenfeld said in defense of the project's narrow focus on Christians. "Let others do what they like for the Muslims."
According to Tom Coghlan of the Times (paywall), Weidenfeld's organization hopes to rescue up to 2,000 Christian families from Syria and Iraq and settle them elsewhere.
"The primary objective is to bring the Christians to a safe haven," Weidenfeld said.
Weidenfeld added that he has received "very generous offers of help" from some Christian groups in the United States. He contended that although the Nazis were "more sophisticated" than ISIS, the terror group's brutality was unmatched.
"When it comes to pure lust for horror and sadism, they [ISIS] are unprecedented," Weidenfeld said. "There never was such scum as these people."
Weidenfeld indicated that he was "appalled by the lack of action" by the international community to take down ISIS once and for all.
"My main concern is - and this is terribly important for me as a member of the generation that can look back to the time before World War Two - the lack of will to defend oneself; to get boots on the ground and to get rid of these people," Weidenfeld said. "The lack of desire to fight the enemy, to slay the dragon in his lair."
The publisher did praise one certain group of people for taking the fight to ISIS.
"The brave Kurds have shown in the battle for Kobani that you can defeat them," Weidenfeld said. "In a disunited world, the road is wide open for the terrorists."