Bill Clinton, Nicholas Winton and Matej Minac at the film premiere of 'The Power of Good'

Bill Clinton, Nicholas Winton and Matej Minac at the film premiere of  'The Power of Good'
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  • Photo taken in:
    New York
    Year when photo was taken:
    2002
    Country name at time of photo:
    United States of America
    Country name today:
    USA

This photograph was taken on 18th September 2002 at the New York premiere of the film 'The Power of Good,' which was also attended by the former US president, Bill Clinton. Nicholas Winton, about whom the documentary is about, is standing in the middle, my son Matej Minac, who shot the film is at the far right. Matej's film, entitled 'Sila Lidskosti' ('The Power of Good'), among other prominent awards, was given in 2002 an international Emmy for the best non-American documentary. It is narrated by Joe Schlesinger, a Canadian reporter working for the CBS TV station, who is also one of "Winton's children."

The documentary describes how Nicholas Winton, born on 19th May 1909 in Britain, where he became a clerk and stockbroker, decided in 1939 to save Czech and Slovak children. Out of modesty, Winton adds that he was only in the right place at the right time, and that everyone would have done the same as he. But that's not the way it was; he was the only one. As my son, Matej Minac, writes in his book, 'The Lottery of Nicholas Winton's Life: Following the trail of a unique endeavor to save children, unique in modern history.': This I couldn't understand. Why didn't he want to talk about it? Why was he pretending that people do this as a matter of course, and that it's utterly common? After all, he's an experienced and intelligent person, and must know that he behaved in a completely exceptional fashion. Thus I was presented with a great mystery, which I wanted to solve at all costs. I couldn't wait to start on the documentary. I was hoping that during my work on the film, I'd find answers to my questions: Why did this person do this in the first place? Why did he keep silent about it for a half century? How did he actually do it? (....) Not even in the Prague of 1939 was he indifferent to the grave situation of endangered Czech and Slovak children. He didn't allow himself to be discouraged by people who reminded him that he had neither the finances nor the time to save the children, and that neither would the Gestapo allow it. What's more, what democratic country would even be willing to accept these children! But they didn't know Winton, whose motto was: 'IT'S IMPOSSIBLE - is not an answer!'

Interview details

Interviewee: Zuzana Mináčová
Interviewer:
Dagmar Grešlová
Month of interview:
July
Year of interview:
2006
Prague, Czech Republic

KEY PERSON

Matej Minac
Year of birth:
1961
City of birth:
Bratislava
Country name at time of birth:
Slovakia
Occupation
after WW II:
Film director

Other Person

Nicholas Winton
Year of birth:
1909
City of birth:
London
Country name at time of birth:
United Kingdom
Occupation
before WW II:
Professional
after WW II:
Working in the humanities

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