Author Ivan Backer to discuss origins of his activism in his escape from Nazi Europe

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Author, award-winning humanitarian and former Episcopal priest Ivan Backer will recount autobiographical stories and read passages from his book My Train to Freedom: A Jewish Boy’s Journey from Nazi Europe to a Life of Activism on Sept. 27 at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. The free public talk starts at 7:00 p.m.

My Train to Freedom is Backer’s memoir about “Nicky’s family,” a group of 669 Czechoslovakian children who escaped the Holocaust through Sir Nicholas Winton’s Kindertransport project. In May 1939, the 10-year-old Backer fled Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia for the United Kingdom aboard one of Winton’s Kindertransport trains. His book covers his dangerous escape, his boyhood in England, his perilous 1944 voyage to America and his subsequent achievements. It also addresses a question that has been present for him ever since 1939: “For what purpose was I spared the Holocaust?”

Backer will answer questions from the audience after his presentation and be available to autograph copies of his memoir.

The presenting sponsor for the lecture is the Thaler Holocaust Memorial Fund. Contributing sponsors are Victor F. and Janice L. Naxera.

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