12 Feb

Weekend Viewing – Sir Nicholas Winton, Operation Czech Kindertransport


Sir Nicholas Winton, Operation Czech Kindertransport

Sir Nicholas Winton – BBC Programme “That’s Life” aired in 1988

The McGlynn:

Sir Nicholas Winton who organized the rescue and passage to Britain of about 669 mostly Jewish Czechoslovakian children destined for the Nazi death camps before World War II in an operation known as the Czech Kindertransport.

You are permitted to dry your eyes.

Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the rescue of 669 children destined for Nazi concentration camps, died  at age 106.

Sir Nicholas, then a stockbroker, arranged for trains to carry Jewish children out of occupied Prague.

The prime minister described him as a “great man” and the chief rabbi praised his “exceptional courage”.
He died on the anniversary of the departure of a train in 1939 carrying the largest number of children – 241.
His son-in-law Stephen Watson said he died peacefully in his sleep at Wexham Hospital, Slough.
Sir Nicholas brought the children to Britain, battling bureaucracy at both ends, saving them from almost certain death, and then kept quiet about his exploits for a half-century.
He organised a total of eight trains from Prague, with some other forms of transport also set up from Vienna.

Nicholas Winton photographed with one of the children he rescued in 1939

Sir Nicholas was born Nicholas Wertheimer in 1909 to Jewish parents
By 1938 he was a young stockbroker in London
He dropped everything to go to Prague to help Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi occupation
Sir Nicholas organised foster families for Jewish children in Britain, placing adverts in newspapers
The 669 children travelled on eight trains across four countries
Sir Nicholas’s team persuaded British custom officials to allow all the children in despite incomplete documentation.

The reluctant hero worked to find British families willing to put up £50 to look after the boys and girls in their homes.

Sir Nicholas was knighted by the Queen in March 2003. His work has been likened to that of the “saviour” of Jewish prisoners Oskar Schindler, however it was a comparison he was not particularly fond of.
The Rotary Club of Maidenhead, of which Sir Nicholas was former president, said his daughter Barbara and two grandchildren were at his side when he died.
As a six-year-old, former Labour MP, Lord Dubs, was one of the children who was put on a train out of Czechoslovakia
He paid an emotional tribute to his rescuer as “just one of those very special human beings”
“The real fact is that he was a man who saved my life and a lot of us who came on the Kindertransport owe him an enormous debt.
“His legacy is that when there is a need for you to do something for your fellow human beings, you have got to do it,” he said.
‘Moral courage’
His son Nick said of his father’s legacy: “It is about encouraging people to make a difference and not waiting for something to be done or waiting for someone else to do it.
“It’s what he tried to tell people in all his speeches and in the book written by my sister.”………………

Discover how Nicholas Winton pulled-off such a dangerous escape plan

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