West Hartford, CT., December 28, 2015
Hartford humanitarian and former Trinity College community activist, Ivan Backer, one of Sir Nicholas Winton’s original Kindertransport rescued children, will launch his new memoir My Train To Freedom: A Jewish Boy’s Journey from Nazi Europe to a Life of Activism (Skyhorse Publishing) on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 7:00 PM at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue West Hartford. The free event, being held on the United Nations‘ International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is open to the public and will feature an author talk and book signing. Reservations are required and can be made at the Mandell JCC Box Office, 860-231-6316, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book is a deeply moving account of Ivan, who as a ten-year-old Jewish boy narrowly escaped the Nazis in May 1939 on the famous Kindertransport from Prague, which saved 669 children. The daring train rescue, portrayed in the recent documentary film, Nicky’s Family, was organized by the late Sir Nicholas Winton, then a young London stockbroker-turned-hero. Sir Nicholas Winton died at age 106 in 2015.
Detailed in this gripping true story is Backer’s dangerous escape, his boyhood in England, his perilous 1944 voyage to America, and his mantra today. Now he is an eighty-six-year-old who remains an activist for peace and justice. He has been influenced by his Jewish heritage, his Christian boarding school education in England, and the always present question, “For what purpose was I spared the Holocaust?” My Train to Freedom was thoroughly researched and shaped by Backer’s own memories. It includes interviews he conducted in 1980 in Czech with his mother and her sister, later translated into English; a collection of conversations he had with his older brother and cousin; insights gained from Nicky’s Family, and concludes with never-before-published death march accounts by two family members.
About the Author
Ivan Backer was born in Czechoslovakia in 1929 and escaped the Holocaust on a Kindertransport as a ten-year-old. He came to the United States via England in 1944, and, after earning degrees in history and theology, worked as a parish priest before moving to Hartford, Connecticut, where he held a number of positions at Trinity College. He served as the president and executive director of the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA). His community involvement reached beyond his professional responsibilities and resulted in his service on at least seventeen boards of directors, task forces, and coalitions. He resides in Hartford, Connecticut.