Minister: how my father escaped Nazis

By Leon Symons, November 26, 2009

Justice Minister Michael Wills has revealed how his father fled Nazi-occupied Vienna and its impact on his role in the government’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

Mr Wills, who this week launched a report composed of Jewish groups’ responses to the bill, said: “Human beings don’t always learn from the past and that’s why this debate and this Jewish contribution is so important.”

Mr Wills, Labour MP for North Swindon, said his father evaded the Nazis by getting a visa through his cousin. As for other family and friends, “they were taken to Prague and somewhere else and were never seen again”.

The report has been produced by ResponseAbility, a cross-communal group focusing on acting and thinking ethically, and RenéCassin, the human rights non-governmental organisation based in West Hampstead.

They have made a number of recommendations to the government, including protection of vulnerable adults and more emphasis on education about rights and responsibilities.

Last updated: 4:42pm, November 26 2009