Sir Nicholas Winton, a hero of World War II, died at the age of 106. Winton wasn’t an ace fighter pilot, he wasn’t someone who killed multiple Nazis while saving his platoon from being wiped out. Nicholas Winton was a clerk at the London Stock Exchange. But what he did for hundreds of children will never be forgotten.
As war neared in 1938, Winton traveled to Czechoslovakia. According to NBC News, Winton realized that the country was in danger from the Nazis, and nobody was doing anything to try and save Jewish children. Winton arranged to bring Jewish children from Prague to England. Despite having to deal with bureaucracy in both his home country and in Czechoslovakia, which had been overrun by the Nazis, Winton managed to rescue more than 650 children.
Winton was dubbed “Britain’s Schindler,” after Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved Jews by employing them in his factories. Working almost alone, Winton created lists of children and found families to take them in. In the months before the war began, he arranged for the transport of children from Prague to England, as part of what was known as “kindertransports.” Thanks to the actions of Winton and various organizations, some 10,000 children were spared from war and internment in Nazi concentration camps.
Winton was the true embodiment of a hero. He didn’t seek fame, and he said nothing about what he had done for some 50 years. Although the 669 children rescued by Winton, and the hundreds more rescued by other groups, seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the six million people who perished in the Holocaust, it’s worth remembering this apocryphal tale:
A young man was walking along a shoreline. Washed up on the shore, there were hundreds of starfish. The young man was picking them up, and throwing them back into the water. An older gentleman came along and asked the young man what he was doing. The youngster replied, “I’m saving starfish.”
The older man looked at the hundreds of starfish that lined the shore, and said, “But you’re only one person, and there are so many of them. How can you possibly make a difference?”
The young man thought for a second, before picking up another starfish and throwing it into the water. “It made a difference to that one,” he said.
Sir Nicholas Winton, 1909-2105.
Here is a video about the amazing work of Sir Nicholas Winton, via YouTube:
Featured image via YouTube screen capture