Milena Fleischmann: One of 669 of Nicky’s Children is an MBE Today

Image Credit: LADbible TV/Youtube

Anthony Hopkins stars as Nicholas Winton in ‘One Life,’ which charts the story of Winton’s efforts to rescue prominently Jewish children from Prague right as the Nazi forces are about to take over the country. Winton and his friends, many of whom were volunteering in Czechoslovakia long before he arrived, do their best to get as many children out as possible. Milena Fleischmann is one of those children whom Winton meets years later. Her real-life story exhibits the impact Winton made on the world by helping save 669 children.

Milena Fleischmann was on One of the Last Trains from Prague

Image Credit: That’s Life

Born in 1929 to an advertising manager for a medical magazine, Milena Ruth Fleischmann had to flee her home when the threat of Nazis became imminent. Apart from being Jews, the Fleischmanns were also in trouble due to Milena’s father supporting and helping Thomas Mann, a vocal anti-Nazi, get Czech citizenship. 9-year-old Milena and her 3-year-old sister, Eva, were put on the last train to successfully make it out of Prague to the UK, where they were placed under the care of the Radcliff family in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside.

Their new guardian was the then-secretary of the Ashton Labour Party and town councilor for Hurst East. While their father was also in the UK at the time, he was in the hospital recuperating from a serious illness. Eventually, their father got better, their mother came to the UK, and the family of four was reunited. Their father got a job at the United Nations Emergency Relief and Reconstruction Administration (UNRRA), and their mother started working at the hospital.

Image Credit: The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust/Youtube

While it had been a life-changing journey for Milena and her sister, the memories of the events remained blurry. Milena confessed that she didn’t remember much about getting on the train and the journey in between. At the time, she wrote down a few things in her little notebook, and that’s the only way she can remember what it was like at the time. She also kept the sign with her name and the identity card she received as a visa as a remembrance of that time. The next thing she remembers is disembarking in Holland, getting on a ship to England, and receiving tea and sandwiches on the way.

Calling herself and her sister one of the lucky few, Milena revealed that she didn’t really know how she got on the train or who was responsible for saving her life until fifty years later when she received a call from Esther Rantzen from ‘That’s Life.’ This is how she found out about Nicholas Winton and thanked him for his good work. Talking about Sir Nicholas Winton, she said that his contributions should never be forgotten and called ‘One Life’ a “fitting” tribute in his honor, which should be used as a “powerful educational tool” to show the young generation how one man’s actions can change several lives. Milena went to Prague again in 1975 and has since made many trips to her native country.

Where is Milena Fleischmann Now?

Milena Fleischmann, now Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines, is 94 years old and lives in Preston, Lancashire. Having grown up in England, she chose the career of a pediatric nurse and briefly lived in France as an au pair, where she also worked as an interpreter. When she returned to England, her paths crossed with Professor George Grenfell-Baines, whom she married and had a son and a daughter with him, along with two stepdaughters from his previous marriage. In 1978, her husband, who died in 2003, was knighted, which made her Lady Milena.

Image Credit: The Sun/Youtube

In 2015, Lady Milena received the Honorary Freedom of the City of Preston for being a “notable citizen,” a “wonderful ambassador,” and an “inspiration.” This accolade was given to her for her years of charity work and other philanthropic and cultural contributions to society. She served as the chairwoman of the Preston Friends of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, as a trustee of the Harris Charity, as a member of Preston’s Twinning Committee, and as part of the Preston Guild 2012.

In 1999, she received the Gratias Agit Award from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2016, Lady Milena’s contribution to the field of music led her to be awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). She has also been an active participant in fostering Czech-British cultural and social relations. She has been a part of the Holocaust Educational Trust for over a decade and has been giving talks at educational institutions, like the Association of Jewish Refugees, surrounding the Holocaust. When she is not busy with her commitments, she likes to indulge in classical music and loves to spend time with her kids, stepdaughters, and her beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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