This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001




Emotional documentary tells the story of an unassuming hero who helped save hundreds of children from the Nazis

NICKY’S FAMILY (Matej Minác, 2011)
Symphony Space, Leonard Nimoy Thalia
2537 Broadway at 95th St.
Sunday, November 10, 17, and 24, $14, 6:00

“There are some stories which we are not only an audience to, but may become their participants,” Canadian journalist Joe Schlesinger says at the beginning of Matej Mináč and Patrik Pašš’s poignant, powerful documentary Nicky’s Family. Schlesinger is one of hundreds of Czech and Slovak men and women who, as children, were saved from the Nazis by unassuming Englishman Nicholas Winton on the eve of World War II. Winton’s story remained virtually unknown for sixty years, until his wife found a suitcase in the attic filled with documentation detailing her husband’s quiet heroism. Over the last fifteen years, the “British Schindler” has been celebrated around the world, being knighted by the queen, meeting many of the people he helped save, and inspiring children who are not directly part of “Nicky’s Family” to help others in what is called the “Winton virus of good.” It’s an unforgettable story centered around a man who didn’t set out to be a hero and still appears to be somewhat uncomfortable with all the accolades, which include being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The film interviews such members of Nicky’s Family as Alice Masters, Ben Abeles, Liesl Silverstone, Dr. Lenata Laxova, Tom Berman, and Tom Schrecker, who have made significant contributions to society that might have never happened had they not been rescued as children by Winton. Director-producer-cowriter Mináč and producer-cowriter-editor Pašš include unnecessary staged re-creations of some of the events of 1938 that actually detract from the central narrative, and the documentary overplays the emotional card in its final scenes, but it tells a story that needs to be told, of a remarkable man who, even at age 104, continues to be an inspiration and proves that one person can indeed make a difference. Nicky’s Family is screening on three successive Sundays, November 10, 17, and 24, at Symphony Space as part of the Thalia Docs series.

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