Rescuedchild finally tells story
Susanne Lind breaks her silence at screening of BBC’s Winton documentary
GRIPPING THE handkerchief her mother had given her when she left Prague, aged 14, one of the 669 children saved from the Nazis by Sir Nicholas Winton spoke publicly for the first time about her wartime experiences.
Now 91 and living in Highgate, Susanne Lind was interviewed by broadcaster Natsaha Kaplinsky after an advance central London screening of a BBC One documentary on Sir Nicholas, Children Saved from the Nazis, which was broadcast on HMD .
Recalling her departure on the penultimate Czech Kindertransport organised by Sir Nicholas — who died last year, aged 106 — Mrs Lind said:“My father was not able to see me off because he was totally heartbroken but my mother saw me off at the station. I knew I would never see them again.
“With this [the handkerchief] my mother wiped away my tears and put it in my pocket. I’ve kept that handkerchief for more years than you can imagine.”
Mrs Lind was recently persuaded by her granddaughter, Katie, to record testimony for the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, which partnered the the BBC on the hour-long film.
“I couldn’t turn my granddaughter’s request down, so I agreed to do it. I was very nervous of the past — and of the interview. But it was a great relief. I felt at last I have told it. I had only ever told the basics to my daughters. I was made to feel so comfortable and that is why I can be here today to talk about it, too.”
Ms Kaplinsky said: “Susie is an extraordinary woman and it was understandably difficult to get her to record her testimony for us [the foundation] for the first time. I’m not sure how her family have done it again and got her here today but we have to thank them.”
Lord Dubs and Rev John Fieldsend — who also arrived here on the Kindertransport and were featured in the documentary —were among others at the screening, along with members of Sir Nicholas’s family.
The UK Envoy on Post-Holocaust Issues, Sir Eric Pickles, said meeting Sir Nicholas some years ago had been “a privilege. He was a remarkable man and he is what this year’s HMD is about, which is not standing by.
“He recognised and saw the evil nature of the Nazi regime, but the difference is he did something about it when most people did nothing.
“The thing about Sir Nicholas is when we look into his eyes, we don’t see ourselves. We see what we can be, what we can aspire to be.”
BBC director-general Lord Hall and UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation chair Sir Peter Bazalgette also spoke.