The glass memorial that recalls the escape of hundreds of mostly Jewish children from the Nazis had been vandalized by unknown vandals at Prague’s central train station last June.
The Farewell Memorial recalls the 669 children who boarded trains at the station during the spring and summer of 1939 and, leaving their parents behind on the platform, were taken to Britain before the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia. Most of their parents were murdered during the Holocaust.
The new glass was installed on Saturday in the presence of Zuzana Marešová, who represented Winton’s children, and the glassmaker Jan Huňát from Nový Bor.
Zuzana Maresova, 87, who, together with her older sisters, was on one of the trains that left Prague in 1939, said she believed the attack was anti-Semitic but that such a motive was hard to prove.
The monument features a replica of a train door from 1939 with the imprints of hands of children on one side and of the window and parents on the other, symbolizing those who bid farewell to each other.
“The Englishman on Wenceslas Square”
Afterword of the horrors of the Kristallnacht got out from Germany, Sir Nicholas Winton decided to help the Jewish people by transferring their children by trains out of Czechoslovakia and eventually into the United Kingdom. He set up an office in Grand Hotel Europa on Wenceslas Square. People soon started talking about “The Englishman on Wenceslas Square”, and Jewish people flocked to him in order to persuade him to help them save their children.
In total, Nicholas Winton had saved the lives of 669 Czechoslovak children. Unfortunately, the last group of 250 children was not able to leave Prague, as World War II had already begun. Additionally, many of the parents of the rescued children perished in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, Winton had managed to save hundreds of lives, and the children he had saved have over 5,000 direct descendants today.
In 1988 his wife discovered his scrapbook in the attic. It contained names of all the children, with their parents’ names, and the names and addresses of their foster parents in Britain. She managed to locate and contact some of them, who he had first encountered in a BBC program when he was invited as a member of the audience.