The breathtaking memoir by a member of "Nicky's family", a group of 669 Czechoslovakian children who escaped the Holocaust through Sir Nicholas Winton's Kindertransport project. My Train to Freedom relates the trials and achievements of award-winning humanitarian and former Episcopal priest Ivan Backer.
As Backer recounts in his memoir, in May of 1939, as a 10-year-old Jewish boy, he fled Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia for the United Kingdom aboard one of the Kindertransport trains organized by Nicholas Winton, a young London stockbroker. The final train was canceled on September 1 when Hitler invaded Poland. The 250 children scheduled for that train were left on the platform and later transported to concentration camps and presumably perished.
Detailed in this true story is Backer's dangerous escape, his boyhood in England, his perilous 1944 voyage to America, and his mantra today. Now he is an 86-year-old who remains an activist for peace and justice. He has been influenced by his Jewish heritage, his Christian boarding school education in England, and the always present question: "For what purpose was I spared the Holocaust?"
My Train to Freedom was thoroughly researched and shaped by Backer's own memories. It includes interviews he conducted in 1980 in Czech with his mother and her sister, later translated into English; a collection of conversations he had with his older brother and cousin; and insights gained from the Czech film Nicky's Family, about the Kindertransport, and concludes with never-before-published death march accounts by two family members.
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