About This Episode
Our guest today is Lord Alf Dubs, the former government minister and human rights activist with an incredible story. Escaping from the Nazis in 1930s Czechoslovakia, Alf was one of the 669 children rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton and the Kindertransport, bringing him to the UK in the lead up to the Second World War. This test of courage and strength at the age of just six-years-old has stayed with Alf throughout his life, entering politics as a local councillor and later, MP, with a determination to fight for the rights of refugees. Described by The Observer as the “compassionate Lord Dubs”, he championed the amendment to the Immigration Act to increase the UK’s acceptance of child refugees.
Lord Alf Dubs, Politician and Refugee Campaigner
Lord Alf Dubs was born in December 1932 in Prague, and was one of the Czech children rescued from the Nazis in the Kindertransport. He had no idea of the identity of his rescuer until 1988, when a relative spotted his name on Esther Rantzen’s That’s Life television programme featuring English former stockbroker Nicholas Winton, who had arranged for the transport of 669 children out of Nazi-occupied Prague. Lord Dubs studied at the London School of Economics before entering a long career in public service. He has been a local councillor, MP for Battersea South and Battersea between 1979 and 1987, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office from 1997 to 1999, Chair of the Fabian Society, Chair of Liberty, a trustee of Action Aid, Director of the Refugee Council and a trustee of the Immigration Advisory Service. He was also Deputy Chair of the Independent Television Commission from July 2000 to February 2001, a member of the Broadcasting Standards Council between 1988 and 1994, becoming Deputy Chairman in 1995, and then Deputy Chair of the Broadcasting Standards Commission until 1997. Lord Dubs was appointed a Labour working peer in 1994, and is an active and independent-minded member of the House of Lords.