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Rantzen lends support to Refugee Council

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2012-06-04

Esther Rantzen

Esther Rantzen

Esther Rantzen has spoken of the need to support refugee children who seek safety in the UK at a screening of a new film about Jewish children rescued from the Holocaust.

The TV personality was among guests at the special showing of Nicky's Family, which told the true story of London man Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 children from Nazi persecution in Czechoslovakia in 1939.

And speaking at the event - one of several being held to mark the 18th birthday of the Refugee Council's Children's Section, Esther explained, "The message that Sir Nicholas always wants to get across is that we mustn’t think of it as ‘the Holocaust’, because these terrible events continue to happen all around the world, we must continue to be vigilant and we must continue to protect the vulnerable, particularly of course, children, who have so much to give us if we just make that gesture of holding out our hands to them.

“It is a pleasure for me to say to the Children’s Section at the Refugee Council congratulations for 18 years of fantastic work. But it’s a tragedy that this work is still necessary. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the children the Refugee Council has supported, who couldn’t watch the film tonight because the fresh memories of their own lives, but they are living proof that the work the Refugee Council is doing is so worthwhile."

The screening, at St John's Wood Liberal Synagogue. also featured a video message from Sir Nicholas - who is still alive, aged 103.

The humanitarian - who was born to Jewish parents who later converted to Christianity - rescued the children by arranging for trains to take them to London after seeing them in refugee camps, persuading the Home Office to let them in.

He said of the Council's work, I am delighted the Refugee Council is showing this film to mark the work they too have been doing with refugee children. The world has changed a lot since 1939, but children coming here today from war torn countries, with no family or belongings, need all the support they can get, which is why I hope the Refugee Council can continue its great work with refugee children.”

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