Karel Reisz was given refuge from Hitler and later celebrated for his films. When considering our duty to Ukrainian refugees, think of him
When refugee crises occur, I think of my late father, Karel Reisz. A celebrated film-maker, he was someone who helped radically transform British cinema during the 1950s and 1960s.
But in early 1939, at the age of just 12, he left his family behind for ever and set off on the last Kindertransport from Prague – shortly before the Germans took over Czechoslovakia and closed the borders – and became a child refugee in the UK. His knowledge of English then was restricted to the name of the former prime minister, “good old Mr Baldwin”, and the remedy an uncle used for his stomach problems, “Carter’s little liver pills”.
Matthew Reisz is a freelance journalist who was editor of the Jewish Quarterly and a staff writer at Times Higher Education