Hartford Man Lived Through Tale Of "Nicky's Family"
Nicky's Family screened at the Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival on March 26, 2012. The screening featured a conversation with Mr. Ivan Backer, a Hartford man who was one of the children saved by Nicolas Winton in the Czech Kindertransport.
Mr. Backer's story was featured along with Nicky's Family in the Hartford Courant:
"Ivan Backer, 82, considers himself a patriotic Czech. His Hartford apartment is decorated with large paintings by Czech impressionists, a bust of Tomáš Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia, and a Czech-made clock that he loves even though it hasn't worked in years.
But Backer hasn't lived in his native country since May 1939, when his mother, Alice, and his aunt put 9-year-old Ivan on a train in Prague, not knowing if they'd ever see him again.
"My mother later told me that my aunt Malva was scolding her for sending me away, saying 'What are you doing? Are you crazy?' " Backer said.
But Backer's mother wasn't the only one. During the early days of Nazi occupation, hundreds of Czech Jews sent their children away to be raised by families in England, in a rescue mission orchestrated by British businessman Nicholas Winton.
The story of the Czech Kindertransport is told in the movie "Nicky's Family," which is one of the centepieces of this year's Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival, which begins Saturday, March 17, and runs through Tuesday, March 27. "Nicky's Family" will be shown Monday, March 26, and Backer will talk after the screening.
Backer's story is one of the happier tales to come out of that evil period in history. Not only did he get out, but so did his brother and both his parents. Aunt Malva survived the war but lost her whole family in Terezín concentration camp."
Nicky's Family was voted Best of the Fest - Documentary by the Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival attendees.
Visit the Nicky's Family movie page.