Remembering the English Schindler

Nicholas Winton was a British stockbroker of Jewish origins who, in December 1938, devised a plan to rescue Jewish children in Prague and bring them to England. He died earlier this week at the age of one-hundred-six:

Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children destined for Nazi concentration camps from Czechoslovakia as the outbreak of World War II loomed. His death . . . came on the same day 76 years ago when the train carrying the largest number of children—241—departed from Prague.

The reluctant hero worked to find British families willing to put up £50 to look after the boys and girls in their homes. His efforts were not publicly known for almost 50 years. More than 370 of the children he saved have never been traced and do not know the full story. . . .

The humanitarian goals of Winton, who was born in the Hampstead district of north London in May 1909, were helped by a 1938 Act of Parliament that permitted the entry to the UK of refugee children under the age of seventeen, as long as money was deposited to pay for their eventual return home.

He set up an office in a hotel in Prague where he was quickly besieged by families desperate to get their children out before Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. . . . Winton . . . worked with relief organizations to set up the Czech Kindertransport, just one of a number of initiatives attempting to rescue Jewish children from Germany and the Nazi-occupied territories. He organized a total of eight trains from Prague, with some other forms of transport also set up from Vienna.

Read more at BBC

More about: British Jewry, Czechoslovakia, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Kindertransport, UK


Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy