Documentary “Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny”;
Q/A session with Jonathan Sandys, Churchill’s great-grandson, and Mark Zaltsberg.
Jonathan Sandys, a great-grandson of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill is an international public speaker on the life and times of his illustrious relative and the impact Sir Winston still has on the world today. Churchill’s courage and determination enabled the British to stand firm against Hitler and the Nazis, even when France surrendered and Britain stood alone. The example of Sir Winston Churchill is a legacy of success and stands as a demonstration of how one man’s determination in the face of defeat can change the world forever.
Mark Zaltsberg is a knowledgeable person and experienced speaker. His numerous presentations on different topics at the Russian Cultural Center are always memorable events for both Russian and English speaking guests. He will ask Mr. Sandys questions regarding Sir Churchill and also share his own passion and knowledge about this great man.
NARRATOR: Houston is the largest city in the southern United States. Residents of this metropolis speak more than 90 languages from around the world. Here in Texas, Jonathan Sandys—the great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill—found his wife and his home.
The pouring rain here serves as a reminder of London. The great-grandson of the former prime minister—who was voted as the greatest Briton in history in a BBC poll—gives lectures about Sir Churchill’s legacy, publishes the online blog Churchill Bulletin, and has written a book coming out in October.
SANDYS: ‘Ya vas lyublyu’…that means ‘I love you’!
NARRATOR: This declaration of love is the only Russian the 40-year old great-grandson of Churchill knows. But today, this phrase is very appropriate. The Russian Cultural Center in Houston dedicated an evening to Churchill’s memory. In honor of the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II, the Center also hosts an exhibition of photographs by the legendary photographer Samary Gurariy, who captured historic images of meetings of the “Big Three”—leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition. What’s more, Jonathan’s uncle Nicholas Soames—Churchill’s grandson and member of the House of Commons—was the official representative of the British Prime Minister at celebrations in Moscow on May 9. “It was a general victory for all the Allies, their common cause. My great-grandfather was very much opposed to communism, but was much more opposed to Nazism. And, at the end of the day, when the Russians were attacked by Hitler, Russia thought that she was alone. And I think that Stalin was quite surprised when my great-grandfather said, “If you want to join us as an ally, you are most welcome.” In actual fact, a few weeks before Hitler attacked Russia, he called Stalin to warn him, but Stalin didn’t believe him. We Britons and Americans are very grateful to Russia for its special contribution to the victory.
NARRATOR: In Russian history, the attitude towards Churchill has always been influx: the positive excitement of the perestroika/glasnost period and early Yeltsin years was replaced by a wary, if not hostile, view in conjunction with a “reversion back to the Soviet Union”. Churchill has an aphorism regarding this issue: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Those who fought on the frontlines and saw the war are becoming fewer and fewer, while the latest history textbooks feature this politician primarily as the author of the ‘Iron Curtain’ speech at Fulton. Many in Russia are convinced that it was this speech (not the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe and creation of pro-Kremlin regimes there) that gave rise to the “Cold War”. Last year, thanks to FBI archives that have been opened, we learned of Churchill’s appeal to President Truman to drop an atomic bomb on the Kremlin.
SANDYS: My great-grandfather was very much opposed to communism, because he saw that people were basically enslaved. But he took an important decision during the war to separate the German people from the Nazis, so that at the end of the war, the German people would be welcomed back into the flock of Europe. The same was done with Russians and communism. There were the Russian people and communists. And I still think that’s the case today. Yes, unfortunately…people like Stalin have put Russia’s position with Europe way back, because countries like America, countries like Britain, find it very difficult to trust the Russian government. But the Russian people are absolutely fantastic, wonderful people and if we have to fight someone again, we’d really like to have the Russians on our side. I don’t think that’s the government, so much as regular people.
NARRATOR: “Never surrender!”, the rule Winston Churchill followed since his school days, became a slogan for his whole country during World War II.
SANDYS: Churchill had great courage. Churchill had great faith. That’s what we’re missing today: strong leaders who are brave, have strong faith and are honest. Honest people who won’t lie to use and who believe in their people.
NARRATOR: The Churchill Challenge, as the prime minister’s great-grandson called it, is designed to improve and develop leadership qualities in oneself. He proposes that everybody start a journal to write about deeds that display courage, faith, and honesty. The main thing is to remember: “Never surrender!”
Alexander Panov, in a special report for “Nastoyashee Vrema”. Houston, Texas. Sponsors:
Veronica and Boris are blissfully in love, until the eruption of World War II tears them apart. Boris is sent to the front lines…and then communication stops. Meanwhile, Veronica tries to ward off spiritual numbness while Boris’s draft-dodging cousin makes increasingly forceful overtures. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, The Cranes Are Flying is a superbly crafted drama, bolstered by stunning cinematography and impassioned performances.
OPENING CEREMONY: Thursday, April 9, 1:00 p.m. at Houston Public Library
The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Elbe Day, April 25, VE (Victory Europe) Day, May 7, and Victory Day, May 9, as it is known in the former Soviet Union. To commemorate these historic events, we present the photo exhibition “Allies. 70 Years of Victory.”
This exhibition consists of photographs taken during WWII by various Soviet photojournalists. One part of it will feature photos from the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. These photographs depict political figures of the highest rank, such as President Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill, British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. These photos emphasize diplomatic efforts of Russia, United States, Great Britain and France during the war. They will be presented at the gallery of the Houston Public Library – Downtown.
The other part of the exhibit is a collection of photos by a famous Soviet photographer, Samariy Gurariy. Gurariy documented major events and figures of the Soviet era and is noted as being Stalin’s favorite photographer at the time of the Yalta Conference. He is also known for his work as a prominent front line military photographer. His WWII images will be shown at RCC’s CaviArt Gallery.
Nikita Storojev, an accomplished Russian bass, sang songs popular in the 40’s – during the period of World War II. He also sang several Old Russian romances.
After receiving his degree in philosophy, Nikita Storojev entered the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow. Upon winning the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition, he became the principal soloist for 5 years in the Bolshoi Theater and the Moscow Philharmonic Society. During his 27 year career as a professional opera singer he performed and made records with the most celebrated singers in opera such as: P. Domingo, L. Pavarotti, N.Ghiaurov.
Nikita also performs regularly in prestigious concert halls and opera houses around the globe, including: Royal Albert Hall, London Festival Hall, Paris Opera, Theatre des Champs Elysees, Theatre Chatelet and Radio France in Paris; Vienna, Berlin, Munich Philharmonie. In Italy he has performed in Rome, Florence, Venice, Torino, and Bologna. He has also performed in North America, singing in such places as: Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Baltimore, Austin, Toronto and Montreal. Other such places include: South Africa, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, the Republic of China and Mexico.
Extensive discography: 17 recordings with Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Chandos, Erato, Melodia, Suoni e Colori and Sibelia. Works conducted by M. Rostropovich, C. Abbado, Sir John Pritchard, V. Ashkenazy, J. Nelson, N.Jarvi, and many others.
The event took place on May 5, 2005 in the Jewish Community Center of Houston.