Lord Weidenfeld
Lord Weidenfeld is funding an operation to rescue persecuted Christians from Syria and IraqGetty Images

Lord Weidenfeld has taken a stand against the Islamic State (Isis) onslaught towards Syrian and Iraqi Christians by funding a rescue mission as a "thank you" for being rescued from the Nazis during the Second World War.

George Weidenfeld, a Jewish cross-bench peer, was one of the many children evacuated from Nazi-occupied Austria thanks to the efforts of Quakers and the Plymouth Brethren, a Christian group.

He said the main aim of his mission was to bring the persecuted Christians to safe havens away from the threat of IS.

"I had a debt to repay," he told The Times.

"It applies to so many young people who were on the Kindertransports. It was 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 primary objective is to bring the Christians to safe havens. IS is unprecedented in its primitive savagery compared with the more sophisticated Nazis. When it comes to pure lust for horror and sadism, they are unprecedented. There never was such scum as these people."

A hundred and fifty people have already flown from Syria to Poland as part of the first stage of Operation Safe Havens, which is organised by the Weidenfeld Safe Havens Fund.

However the mission has come under criticism for not rescuing Muslims.

"The primary objective is to bring the Christians to safe haven," Lord Weidenfeld told The Times. "I can't save the world but there is a very specific possibility on the Jewish and Christian side. Let others do what they like for the Muslims."