To bring you an insider’s view of the new documentary “Nicky’s Family”, we were fortunate to interview one of the 669 child survivors saved by Sir Nicholas Winton from Czechoslovakia just before the outbreak of World War II. With deep gratitude, Dave Lux shared his survivor story that is part of “Nicky’s Family.” This must-see documentary has won 32 awards at film festivals worldwide, and opens in the U.S. this Friday, July 19, 2013, in Los Angeles, New York and VOD everywhere.
This historic documentary includes interviews with Sir Nicholas Winton, survivors, children and grandchildren who are part of the now 6,000 members of “Nicky’s Family” worldwide. In the film, Sir Nicholas Winton reflects, “There are some stories which we are not only an audience to, but may become their participants.” Joe Schelsinger, TV Journalist, Canada, narrates the film, and Dave Lux appears in “Nicky’s Family” several times.
As a 29-year-old stockbroker, Sir Nicholas Winton decided to go to Czechoslovakia with a friend instead of their originally planned ski trip vacation to the Alps. After seeing the refugee camps, he felt compelled to arrange for 669 children to be adopted by British families. He dropped everything to arrange for the right families, transport papers and transportation so he could get as many children as possible out before the war started. Sir Nicholas shares in the film, “I have a motto that if something is not blatantly impossible, there must be a way of doing it.”
Sir Nicholas Winton did not share this story with anyone for 50 years, and then his wife discovered his notebook in the attic, and the reunions began. To bring you the story from a child’s viewpoint, we interviewed Dave Lux for hours by his pool in Northridge, CA. He was proud to share that he has been married to his wife Helene for 50+ years, and they are the proud parents of 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
During this child survivor interview, Dave shared how he and his brother (Yakov Pinkasovich) were saved by Sir Nicholas Winton. His journey includes living in Czechoslovakia, London, Israel, Brooklyn, Cleveland, and finally Los Angeles after his honeymoon to the City of Angels. Dave shared, “I had a very strong motivation to get married. My brother and I grew up for almost 10 years without knowing we had any living relatives. No aunts, uncles, cousins, nothing.”
Dave described the beginning of his journey as a 5-yr-old who only spoke Yiddish, “We lived in a remote area somewhere in a field, no neighbors, and it took me many years to trying to figure out the reason. The house we lived in, if you call it a house, it was the size of a standard 2-car garage. It was like a shed actually, and we lived in that. It was separated by a curtain down the middle. One side was sleeping quarters for us, and the other side was kitchen and daytime… There was no electricity. No plumbing. There was a wooden water pump. And 50 feet away was an out-house, and that was for our toilet.”
After receiving “unexpected visitors” during the day who harassed his mother and messed up the place, the family packed up the next day and left “the last home he every knew as a child.”
While in Slovakia, Dave’s parents were approached by Sir Nicholas Winton’s team. Dave explained, “As it turned out, from the whole building, none of the parents agreed except ours. When it finally came time for us to go, I remember we were sitting with our mother and she is crying. She was hysterical. I don’t understand. She’s asking us over and over again, Are you sure you want to go, she’s trying to convince herself that she’s doing the right thing.”
They were placed in a black car, and Dave expanded, “It turns out we left our parents the same day that Prague was occupied, and we got stuck in traffic.” In a trip that seemed to take forever, they were eventually put on a train to Holland, and then by boat and train to Liverpool Station (which you can see in the film “Nicky’s Family.”)
Dave and Yakov ended up with a “very nice” Jewish family that included Rabbi Sasof, his wife and daughter (about 10-12 years old.) As Dave shared, “The good life didn’t last very long.” When the war hit London, the children were moved north to Ely’s Jewish Boys School for about 6 years. Dave shared that they received one letter from their parents and found out that they had a younger brother, whom they never met.
After the war, the brothers had to come to the sad realization that their parents didn’t make it after weeks, months and years with no news. They moved to Israel, and later Dave went to live with an aunt in Brooklyn that eventually led him to his home in Los Angeles. You could write a book just on their story.
50 years later, Dave’s brother, who stayed in Israel, wrote to tell him that there was a reunion in London for the Kindertransport. Dave explained, “As close as we were, it was hard to be separated, any excuse we had, we get together, so we met in Prague and that is where I first met Nicholas Winton.”
As a result of this meeting and being invited to the premiere of an Emmy-winning film about Sir Nicholas Winton, “The Power of Good,” Dave has become a speaker at the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance. Dave explained, “Watching the film for the first time myself, they asked the other volunteers how it’s effected their life. Every one of them had something to say about how they volunteer. It put such a guilt complex on me,…so I instantly went to the staff and said put me down…They came up with the suggestion that…they didn’t have one speaker who would give the experience as a child because I was 6 year old.”
Dave now gives back often by sharing is story at schools and at the Museum of Tolerance, as do so many of the 6,000 members of “Nicky’s Family.” Dave dedicates every talk to his parents, and says that he learns something new every time. “Nicky’s Family” (Menemsha Films) documentary is Directed by Matej Minac and emphasizes the power of good by showing how many of the survivors are now making a positive impact today. You don’t want to miss this inspirational and historical film.
© Liz H Kelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist and Goody Awards Founder http://goodyawards.com