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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

Roundtable Discussion | The Representation of Kindertransport in 'One Life' Event

One Life
14 February 2024
Lecture Theatre B, Avenue Campus & Online

For more information regarding this event, please email .

Event details

The Parkes Institute and the Department of History invite you to a special roundtable event around the representation of Kindertransport in the film 'One Life'.

One Life , which was given its public release on 1 January 2024, is a feature film starring Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Flynn, that tells the story of Nicholas Winton who played a key role in rescuing over 600 children, mainly Jewish, from Czechoslovakia in 1939. It is the first major commercial non-documentary film on what more recently has been called the Kindertransport and is arguably the first major British film (partly a BBC production) with a Holocaust theme. Interplaying recreations of the young London stockbroker Winton visiting Prague and discovering the refugee crisis in the late 1930s, and the older Winton who reluctantly becomes celebrated as the ‘British Schindler’, the film explores responses to Nazi persecution both ‘then’ and ‘now’. It makes a point of commemorating others involved in the rescue, including Winton’s mother and two of the British activists who remained in Prague – Trevor Chadwick and Doreen Warriner – but inevitably puts Nicholas Winton at the forefront.

What is and is not represented in the film, and the mythologies around the Kindertransport will be the focus of our discussion. We are privileged to have Helen Abeles to start the discussion, talking about her late husband Ben who was one of the ‘Winton children’ and how Ben himself felt about and participated in commemorations related to the Czech Kindertransport. This will be followed by a conversation amongst scholars about the representations of refugee agency, social and religious assimilation, emotional traumas of separation and representations of English cosmopolitanism and nationalism in One Life .

Discussants include Tony Kushner , Verity Steele, Nicola Woodhead, Charlie Knight and Janek Gryta .

If you'd like to attend online, please email Priti Mishra on for joining instructions. Those wishing to attend in-person do not need to register and can simply arrive in Lecture Theatre B prior to the event starting at 6pm.

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