“If something isn’t blatantly impossible, then there must be a way of doing it.” Nicky Winton.

 nicky's family posterWhat a great message with which to start the fall semester and our 2014-15 program Saving Memory: Fragments of the Holocaust.

I have watched Nicky’s Family, the film we will be screening on September 16, several times. Each time I am captivated by it. Last night as I was viewing the film I realized something that I should have realized on my first viewing. The film is about much more than Sir Nicky and his actions, important as those are. The film is about what we will choose to do with what we learn from Nicky’s story.

Not to give away too much, but ethical choice resonates throughout the film in many different ways: from parents who dared to send their children into the unknown, believing that the unknown was preferable to the known; to Winton himself who had no idea how to rescue anyone but did it anyway; to British families who didn’t know if they could support another child but took in a child any way; to the “Winton children” who reached out to comfort one another and to grow into adults who have lived lives of meaning and service. The people you will encounter in the film, including Winton “child”, Dave Lux, who will be joining us for the evening, are simply unforgettable.

Nicky’s Family brought home to me that history becomes most real when we choose to make it part of who we are and how we choose to act in the world. Nicky Winton knew that saving everyone in need was impossible, but saving one child at a time, that was only almost impossible. Service was not just an episode in Nicky’s life; it was the theme of his life even as he became a husband, father, and successful businessman. Nicky is now 105.

We hope that many Chapman University students will attend, along with students from some of our area schools, and of course, all of you who regularly come to our programs. We’re working with our Office of Student Civic Engagement to have organizations representing many different types of service opportunities on hand before and after the event to share information about options for community service. We hope that everyone will be inspired–and inspired to action– by Nicky’s Family and by Sir Nicky’s quote: “If something isn’t blatantly impossible then there must be a way of doing it.”

Join us  September 16 at 7 p.m. in the Chapman Auditorium at Memorial Hall. No tickets required. Comments following the film by Dave Lux, one of the 669 children rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton. Read more about the screening »