The Hero Who Saved Hundreds of Children during the Holocaust
Sir Nicholas Winton was a British humanitarian who became famous for organizing the rescue of 669 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia just before the outbreak of World War II. He is considered a hero for his selfless act that saved hundreds of lives, and his legacy continues to inspire people around the world.
Winton was born in London on May 19, 1909, into a wealthy family. He was educated at Stowe School and later went to study banking in Germany. After returning to England, he started working at the London Stock Exchange. However, Winton’s life took a dramatic turn in 1938, when he decided to travel to Czechoslovakia to help with the humanitarian crisis there.
At the time, Europe was on the brink of war, and Nazi Germany had already annexed Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia. Winton was shocked by the plight of refugees he encountered in Prague, where he worked as a volunteer for the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia. He soon realized that the situation was dire and that thousands of Jewish children were in danger of being sent to concentration camps.
With no official backing from the British government, Winton took matters into his own hands and started organizing the evacuation of Jewish children to England. He worked tirelessly to find foster families for the children and to arrange for their safe transport out of Czechoslovakia. Winton even forged documents and bribed officials to ensure that the children could leave the country legally.
In total, Winton managed to save 669 children from almost certain death. He returned to England in 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, but he kept his heroic deeds a secret for many years. It wasn’t until 1988, when his wife discovered a scrapbook with the names and photos of the rescued children, that Winton’s story became known to the world.
Winton’s remarkable act of bravery and kindness earned him numerous awards and accolades, including a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2003. He was also honored with the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, one of the highest civilian awards in the Czech Republic. In 2014, Winton was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Despite his fame, Winton remained humble and modest throughout his life. He never considered himself a hero and always insisted that he was just an ordinary person who did what he felt was right. Winton passed away on July 1, 2015, at the age of 106, but his legacy continues to inspire people around the world.
Winton’s story is a testament to the power of one person to make a difference in the world. His courage and compassion saved the lives of hundreds of children and inspired countless others to follow in his footsteps. Winton’s legacy reminds us that in times of crisis, we all have a responsibility to help those in need, no matter how daunting the task may seem. Sir Nicholas Winton will forever be remembered as a hero who made the world a better place.
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