When Nazi forces occupied Austria in 1938, George Weidenfeld had only just turned eighteen. Without the help and generosity of Christians during World War II, Weidenfeld would probably not have lived to see his 95th birthday this year.

One of many other Jewish youths, Weidenfeld was evacuated from Nazi-occupied Austria through Christian-led programs and sent to England. Upon arriving in England, Weidenfeld was given food and clothing and help finding a place to live.

With Christian persecution on the rise all over the globe, Weidenfeld is making an effort to repay the kindnesses done to him during World War II. Weidenfeld has started a new program, the Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund, aimed to rescue persecuted Christians from the Middle East.

Over the next two years, the program plans to rescue a projected 2,000 Christians from Iraq and Syria.

In an interview with The Times of London, Weidenfeld stated, “I had a debt to repay. It applies to so many young people who were brought on the Kindertransports. It was the Quakers and other Christian denominations who brought those children to England. It was (a) very high-minded operation, and we Jews should also be thankful and do something for the endangered Christians.”

The program has already completed its first rescue, transporting 150 Syrian Christians to Poland on a privately chartered plane.

A Beaverton resident, Madeleine Cook enjoys a passion for reading, running, and the arts. She is currently studying the Great Books at the University of Notre Dame and is interested in eventually teaching.