Barbara Winton to deliver refugee session at Biennial Weekend

17 May 2018

Barbara Winton will speak about how we can build on her father’s legacy at Liberal Judaism’s Biennial Weekend, via a live Skype link from Athens where she will be visiting a refugee camp.

Barbara is the daughter and biographer of the late Sir Nicholas Winton (1909-2015), who organised the Czech and Slovak Kindertransport in 1939 to rescue endangered children from the Nazi threat.

Her session at the Biennial, Liberal Judaism’s flagship event, will be titled ‘Sanctuary Sukkot and the 80th Anniversary of the Kindertransport’.

It will be delivered in partnership with Citizens UK and Safe Passage (click here for more on Safe Passage) and examine how our communities can take action at Sukkot, and throughout the year, to help today’s child refugees and secure a permanent legacy of welcome in the UK.

At the time the Biennial takes place, Barbara will be on a humanitarian mission to a refugee camp in Athens alongside Lord (Alf) Dubs, Eve Leadbeater and Ben Abeles – who all came to the UK as Kindertransport children – so will take part in the session via a live video link-up.

Ben is also due to speak, telling his own story as a child refugee who went onto become one of the world’s leading physicists. His research at Princeton University led to the technology used to power space probes like the Voyager.

The Liberal Judaism Biennial Weekend takes place from Friday June 29 – Sunday July 1 at the St Johns Hotel, just outside of Birmingham. Other speakers include Rabbi Danny Freelander, the president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, and Board of Deputies chief executive Gillian Merron.

This December will mark the 80th anniversary of the arrival of the first child refugee in Britain on the Kindertransport. The Kindertransport Legacy Project is being led by those who arrived on the Kindertransport and their descendants, along with the families who welcomed them to Britain, to mark the anniversary.

The project will tell the stories of those children, who went on to become parents, teachers, scientists, business leaders and even members of the House of Lords and of their contribution to British life.

This story-telling will support a campaign to maintain and expand safe and legal routes to Britain for child refugees, which Liberal Judaism is a part of.

The goal is to secure a commitment from the government to accept 1,000 child refugees a year for 10 years (amounting to just 3 children per local authority per year), matching the number of children who arrived on the Kindertransport.

As part of the campaign, the project aims to organise community groups and faith institutions to build support by recruiting local families for a ‘register of interest’ to foster unaccompanied children; holding local actions commemorating the contribution of their community to the Kindertransport; and seeking commitments from Council leaders to offer places to accept more refugee children and MPs to support legislation in favour of child refugees.

Liberal Judaism and Citizens UK are looking for a number of communities to take action at Sukkot in support of the campaign.

If you would like to find how you, and your community, can help refugees, please contact Liberal Judaism’s social justice organiser Tamara Joseph on

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