Petr Sís launches Czech version of Nicholas Winton book in Prague

The renowned author and illustrator unveiled the Czech-language version of his latest book this weekend at DOX. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.11.2021 09:25:00 (updated on 14.11.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Renowned author and illustrator Petr Sís unveiled the Czech version of his latest children's book Nicky and Vera (Nicky & Věra) in the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague on Friday.

Through colorful illustrations, the book tells the true story of Věra Gissing, a young Jewish girl who Nicholas Winton saved from the Nazis on the eve of the second World War. Winton, a British banker and philanthropist, saved 668 children, most of them Jewish, by arranging their transport from Prague to London in 1938-39.

Sís said he had been inspired to write Nicky & Vera when he visited Prague and went to see an exhibition on Winton with his son.

The author has been living and working in New York since the 1980s, when he was forced to emigrate from his homeland by Czechoslovak communist police.

At DOX on Friday, Sís said that he had come to realize there that he did not pay enough attention to the silent heroes of the world in his work.

He said he then read Pearls of Childhood by Gissing, which inspired him to learn more about Winton and a wonderful book from the point of an optimistic, innocent girl who is not aware that her parents are protecting her from bad news from Germany.

Věra Gissing is still living in the United Kingdom at the age of 92. She has written numerous books, many of which deal with her personal story during WWII. Both of her parents died in Nazi concentration camps during the war.

Winton's efforts went largely unnoticed until he appeared on a UK TV show in 1988 in which he was reunited with some of the children he helped save.

He has since been dubbed the "British Schindler", and celebrated with honors in the UK, Czech Republic, and elsewhere. A statue of Winton stands at Prague's Main Train Station, where the children he saved were transported from.

Winton passed away in 2015 at the age of 106. A new movie about the Holocaust hero, starring Anthony Hopkins and Johnny Flynn as Winton at different ages, is currently in pre-production but has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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