Former Jewish refugee from Nazis funds rescue of thousands of persecuted Christians

Lord George Weidenfeld, a Jewish member of the British House of Lords who fled to Britain in 1938 because the Nazis arrived in his native Austria, is funding a rescue mission of up to 2,000 Christian families in Iraq and Syria suffering at the hands of the terror group ISIS.

Weidenfeld, who is an honorary vice-president of the World Jewish Congress and recently received the WJC's Theodor Herzl Award, said he had a “debt to repay” 77 years after the Plymouth Brethren, a Christian group, took him in after he reached Britain in 1938. Quakers played a key role in the Kinderstransport, an operation that evacuated children in danger of persecution by the Nazis.

The first phase of Operation Safe Havens, organized by the Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund, saw 150 people flown by privately-chartered plane from Syria to Poland last Friday with the permission of the Polish government and Syria’s Assad regime.

In an interview with 'The Times' newspaper, the 95-year-old said: “I had a debt to repay. It applies to so many young people who were on the Kinderstransports. It was Quakers and other Christian denominations who brought those children to England. It was very high-minded operation and we Jews should also be thankful and do something for the endangered Christians.

“The primary objective is to bring the Christians to safe havens. ISIS is unprecedented in its primitive savagery compared with the more sophisticated Nazis. When it comes to pure lust for horror and sadism, they are unprecedented. There never was such scum as these people.”

The publisher indicated that he wanted to emulate philanthropists such as Sir Nicholas Winton, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 106 and who had organized the rescue of 669 Jewish children from the Nazis in 1939.

Lord Weidenfeld’s fund aims to provide between 12 and 18 months of paid support to the refugees.

Confronted with criticism that his project was only aimed at saving Christians and Jews, but not Muslims, Weidenfeld said: "The primary objective is to bring the Christians to safe haven. I can’t save the world but there is a very specific possibility on the Jewish and Christian side. Let others do what they like for the Muslims.”

Photo: Shahar Azran

Add new comment

We welcome any comments you may have on this article. Comments are moderated and we reserve the right to edit or remove any which are derogatory or offensive. The WJC is not responsible for the content of any comments.

Comments

Lia

Wed, 19 Aug 2015

I'm a pensioner, but I've never been in Lord Weidenfeld's position or in the position of the ME Christians. My contribution must be small, but I do very much, want to give.

elias

Mon, 03 Aug 2015

How can I contact the weidenfeld safe havens fund? Thanks for answer

Jack Dapra

Sun, 02 Aug 2015

How can people donate to the Weidenfeld Safe Haven Fund?

Patti

Sat, 01 Aug 2015

How do we donate to this effort. How can we help?

Sally Ward

Sat, 01 Aug 2015

Lord George Weidenfeld, though certainly you are a kind and generous man, you are also just a wee bit confused. You precious Jews don't owe us Christians anything. We are the ones who owe you everything. Thank you for being so faithful in giving us our Bible. Thank you for your many contributions to science, medicine, the law, and the arts. I just love you. And I pray that we soon see the complete wholeness and peace of the Jewish people, of Jerusalem, and of Israel. Thank you for saving my Chrisitan brothers and sisters in the shadow of ISIS.

Victoria Mannion

Sat, 01 Aug 2015

How does one contribute to this fund? I have not been able to find a way listed on-line. What admirable work!

Kirk young

Fri, 31 Jul 2015

So how do I donate to erode field fund?

C Garlow

Fri, 31 Jul 2015

How can we donate to this fund?

Suzanne Bichrt

Sun, 26 Jul 2015

How can I contribute to the Wiedenfeld Safe Havens Fund?

Martin Johnson

Thu, 23 Jul 2015

As a Christian whose group took a small part in the Kindertransport effort in 1939 (we are still in touch with this organization) we are very grateful to Lord Weidenfeld for his generous efforts to save Christians and Jews. this gives the world and all people of good will more encouragement and we deeply thank all concerned in this effort. Our communal group also hosted a Kibbutz training team 1938-9 in the UK for a year till we had to leave the UK [as half our membership was German]. We pray that Lord Weidenfeld will live as long as Sir Nicholas Winton [G-d willing]!!

Subscribe

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up!
News
WJC in the media