1938. Austria. George Weidenfeld helplessly watched the notorious Nazi regime invade his homeland. A Jew by birth Weidenfeld’s life should have ended in some Nazi concentration camps. It was the kindness of some Christians that sheltered him and saved him during World War II. Weidenfeld has survived and today at 95, he recounts his survival story with a heart filled with gratitude towards the selfless generosity of those Christians.
During Nazi invasion in Austria, there were many Jewish youths who were evacuated and resettled in England though Christian initiatives. Weidenfeld was one among those fortunate ones. He arrived in England, homeless and hapless. It was some Christian with golden hearts that fed him, clothed him and helped to resettle.
“It applies to so many young people who were brought on the Kindertransports. It was the Quakers and other Christian denominations who brought those children to England. It was very very high-minded operation and we Jews should also be thankful and do something for the endangered Christians. Now I have debt to repay.” Weidenfeld says.
His gratitude takes shape in the form or a rescue operation programme. In view of rescuing persecuted Christians in the Middle East, Weidenfeld has launched a new programme to repay the kindness he has once received. The programme named Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund aims to rescue a projected 2000 Christians from Syria and Iraq over the next two years. Last week the first rescue flight flew to Poland carrying 150 Syrian Christians. It was on a private chartered plane.