Lord Weidenfeld, an influential British publisher whom Christians helped escape Nazi-occupied Austria during his youth, has set up a fund to help save Syrian and Iraqi Christian refugees from the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.
In 1938, 19-year-old George Weidenfeld was given safe passage to the United Kingdom, thanks to the help of a Christian group called the Plymouth Brethren. Weidenfeld would later work at the BBC and go on to co-found the publishing firm Weidenfeld & Nicholson.
The publisher just recently financed the resettling of 42 Syrian Christian families into Warsaw, Poland, who all made it safely to Europe. The operation was carried out in total secrecy, as identifying the refugees’ names may threaten their family members remaining in Syria. Furthermore, 200 more Syrian Christian refugee families are expected to receive safe passage to Poland in the next few months, Weidenfeld said.
Weidenfeld, who feels he has a “debt to repay,” told The Times of Israel, “We have been deeply moved by the plight of Christians in conflict-torn Middle East countries, and we are supporting the transfer of Christian families to safe havens where they can lead normal lives.”
Additionally, the Jewish National Fund–a pro-Israel organization–has stepped in to help finance the Christian rescue operations, according to the report. Another charity, the Warsaw-based Esther Foundation, has provided temporary accommodations for the refugees.
“In the 1930s, thousands of Jews, mainly women and children, were helped by Christians who took enormous personal risks to save them from certain death. We owe a debt of gratitude,” Weidenfeld added.