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Britain's queen visits Slovakia

Britain's queen visits Slovakia

Slovakia honored Britain's queen Thursday with a special reception featuring a Briton who organized mass evacuations of children to prevent them from being sent to Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
Queen Elizabeth II met with Sir Nicholas Winton, 99, and a handful of the 669 children he helped save from the region. The train transports he arranged from then-Czechoslovakia earned him the nickname "Britain's Schindler," after the German businessman Oskar Schindler, who also saved Jewish lives during the war.
The meeting at a Slovak hotel was the centerpiece for the start of her two-day trip, which is meant to cement ties between ties between Britain and Slovakia, one of two states that emerged with the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
Among those attending was Milena Grenfell-Baines, 79, one of the children saved by Winton. Grenfell-Baines, who now lives in Britain, traveled to Slovakia just for the chance to thank the queen for sending honey to a school she attended after being saved during the war.
"Finally," she said, "I got a chance to thank her."
Thousands of Slovaks waited in the rain to welcome the queen and her husband, Prince Philip. A couple in Slovak national costume offered a traditional gift of bread and salt, before a troupe entertained them with a spirited folk dance.
The queen also met with World War II veterans who fought on the side of Allies during the war. At the time, the Slovakia was a Nazi puppet state.
"Now, Slovakia is a different country, a democratic country," said Maj. Gen. Anton Petrak, 96, who joined the British military during the war. "I assured the queen that it was a great honor for us to be on the side of Britain."
Petrak said that the monarch thanked him _ though he admitted he could not understand exactly what was said. He is hard of hearing lately.


Updated : 2021-10-27 03:20 GMT+08:00