As so many women, including nurses and other ‘front line’ staff currently combatting Covid-19 have suddenly become acknowledged heroes, it is very timely to consider another hitherto unsung hero, Doreen Warriner.
Warriner’s battle, however, was not against the insidious, unseen virus, but an all too visible World War Two enemy in Gestapo uniforms. Working with the British Committee for Refugees in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), she cared for, and protected as far as possible, the wives and children of mainly political refugees, helping hundreds to escape to safety in Britain during 1938–1939.
It was a dangerous activity which ultimately endangered Warriner herself, forcing her to flee too, in 1939. Overshadowed by the venerable Sir Nicholas Winton in London, who focused on the Kindertransports from Prague to Britain, saving 669 children, Warriner’s selflessness was largely overlooked and then forgotten. Fortunately for present day researchers, nephew Henry Warriner’s book has remedied this, raising her profile and giving her the belated recognition she greatly merits. I, for one, applaud them both.
Dr Jana Buresova, Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies