Until the above video aired on British television, not many people knew the story of Nicholas Winton. And that’s too bad, because as you’ll learn, Winton saved the lives of many, many people.
At Christmastime in 1938, Nicholas Winton was planning a ski trip to Switzerland. Instead, a friend of his asked for help in Prague, saving Jewish Czech children already at risk from the looming Nazi threat in Europe. Nicholas happily canceled his vacation and headed to Czechoslovakia to do good. Right there at his hotel room table, he set up an organization to help Jewish children.
What Nicholas did was take Jewish children being threatened in Czechoslovakia (most of their parents would end up murdered in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp) and help them reach safety in his native England. There were some obstacles to this, however.
First, even many allied nations (the U.S. and Great Britain among them) hesitated to let many Jewish refugees in, despite the fact that their very lives were being threatened. But the British House of Commons was allowing refugees younger than 17 past British borders, so Nicholas was able to save children.
Secondly, the route to England passed through the Netherlands, and Dutch borders had been closed to Jews after Kristallnacht. But even so, Winton found ways around these restrictions.
In the end, Nicholas Winton saved 669 Jewish children, leading to the belated recognition above. Nicholas would go on to live to the age of 106. And when he finally passed on to his greater reward, Yad Vashem (Israel’s official Holocaust memorial) said that this man — dubbed the British Schindler — “acted relentlessly, courageously and with integrity to save children and for that is worthy of our admiration.”Tags: Advocates and Allies Great Britain History Holocaust Nicholas Winton Righteous Gentiles Video