Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 26 September |
Saint of the Day: Sts Cosmas and Damian
home iconNews
line break icon

Jewish Millionaire Publisher Rescues Christians from Syria to “Pay Back His Debt”

ARMIN WEIGEL / DPA / dpa Picture-Alliance/AFP

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 07/16/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Lord George Weidenfeld is grateful to the Christians who saved his own life 77 years ago

British Lord George Weidenfeld is funding a rescue mission of up to 2,000 Christian families in Iraq and Syria. According to  the UK’s Catholic Herald, he hopes to emulate the late Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 children destined to be killed in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust.

Weidenfeld, 95, a former publisher and millionaire, says he has "a debt to pay." 

After the onset of World War II, Quakers and Plymouth Brethren Christians arranged for the safe passage of Jews in Vienna to England via Kindertransport to escape the Nazis in 1938. They were fed, clothed, and given housing and transportation—and Weidenfeld was among them. 

Speaking to The TimesLord Weidenfeld, said: “I had a debt to repay. It applies to so many young people who were on the Kinderstransports… It was very high-minded operation and we Jews should also be thankful and do something for the endangered Christians."

The first phase of Weidenfeld’s rescue effort—which is called Operation Safe Havens, organized by the Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund—flew 150 people by private charter from Syria to Poland on Friday, July 10, 2015, after receiving permission from the Polish government and the Assad regime in Syria.

UK’sExpressreports that Weidenfeld’s fund aims to provide between 12 and 18 months of paid support to the refugees. However countries, including the United States, have declined to participate in the scheme because it excludes Muslims who are also being targeted by ISIS. 

Christians, as well as Yazidis, Druze and Shia Muslims are being persecuted by the terror group in Syria and Iraq. But Lord Weidenfeld defended the project’s narrow focus.

"I can’t save the world, but there is a very specific possibility on the Christian side. Let others do what they like for the Muslims," he said.

Born in Austria in 1919, Weidenfeld was appointed the British title of Lord in 1976. Although he arrived in Britain penniless, he eventually made his fortune by establishing the publishing business Weidenfeld and Nicolson. 

Zoe Romanowsky is lifestyle editor and video content producer for Aleteia.

Tags:
Christians in the Middle EastIraqIslamist MilitantsRefugeesSyriaUnited Kingdom
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
VATICAN LEGOS
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
2
SLEEPING
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
3
Tolkien
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
4
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
5
PADRE PIO
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
6
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
7
peace
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.