If you do one thing this week, go to see ‘One Life’. I did and cried all the way through it. However, maybe I shouldn’t have been watching the Leeds West Brom game on my phone at the same time. ‘One Life’ is in cinemas now and tells the story of mild-mannered modest hero Nicholas Winton who rescued 669 child refugees from Czechoslovakia as Nazi occupation loomed in 1938. Winton was not an action hero and like Highbridge man Frank Foley who also rescued 100s of endangered people at the same time, was just a bureaucrat. But that meant he knew the system and how to use it, but the difference was that he chose ethics. Although of Jewish refugee origin he wasn’t religious and couldn’t work out how a God could be cheering on all sides equally in war. He was a socialist and a pacifist, but as war broke out, he signed up for the RAF.
Why is this film timely? It shows the reality of why refugees flee their countries in time of war and the helplessness they find themselves in. But also, it shows how the work of a few good people with high morals can make a difference. One life saved or one life devoted to saving others it’s the same morality.
And in Bridgwater it’s pertinent because at the same time in November 1938 when Winton was in Prague saving refugees, here the people took that moral decision at an election and voted to stop the Governments policy of appeasement of Nazism. There were 6 by elections that year on the subject and only Bridgwater voted NO to appeasement. And that changed the Governments policy. It’s a long story but you can find it here on www.vernonbartlett.co.uk.
Watch the film but take tissues. As I’ll be doing to the Leeds Cardiff game next Saturday…..