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Milena Grenfell-Baines (1929) - Biography

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We, the Winton children, do not talk much about what we had been through, but we try to help

Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines was born in 1929 in Prague in the Jewish family Fleischmann. She grew up in Proseč near Skuteč in the Chrudim district where her mother's family came from. When Milena was three years old her mother died and her father remarried. Rudolf Fleischmann worked as an accountant and he was one of the key figures in negotiating the granting of Czechoslovak citizenship to the German writer Thomas Mann for whom he arranged to receive the right of domicile in the Proseč town hall. From 1937 the family lived in Prague. At the end of July 1939, Milena Fleischmannová and her sister, who was six years younger, left in a children's transport dispatched by Nicolas Winton from Prague to Great Britain. Both her parents later emigrated to Britain as well, but they were only able to take care of Milena's younger sister. Milena attended the Czechoslovak State Boarding School in Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales during the war. She did not return to Czechoslovakia after the war and she studied nursing and infant childcare. In 1954 she married architect and urban planner George Grenfell-Baines (1908-2003), with whom she raised four children, two from his previous marriage and two children that were born to them. She is entitled to use the title Lady since her late husband was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1978. Milena Grenfell-Baines lives in Preston near Manchester in northern England, and she is actively involved in Czech-British cultural and social relations. In 1999 she received the Gratias Agit Award from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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