Winton rescued 669 children in 1939
Sir Nicholas Winton rescued 669 mostly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia in 1939. Not a soldier, not a government official, Winton petitioned the British government for permission to organize “Kindertransport.”
For fifty years, Winton kept his Kindertransport activities to himself. It wasn’t until his wife discovered a scrapbook that his story was made public in 1988. It wasn’t until the details of his rescue missions were unearthed that the children he saved learned who saved them and how. More than 7,000 people credit their lives to Winton’s efforts.
Winton passed away last year at the age of 106. Thursday, hundreds attended a memorial service to commemorate Winton’s incredible bravery and selflessness.
The BBC covered Winton’s memorial service:
Some 28 of those he saved as children were among 400 people who attended the event at London’s Guildhall, along with Czech, Slovak and UK government representatives.
Sir Nicholas organised the “Kindertransport” in which 669 mostly Jewish children came to Britain by train from Czechoslovakia in 1939.
He died on 1 July last year, aged 106.
The Kindertransport became public knowledge on BBC TV show That’s Life in 1988 when presenter Esther Rantzen reunited some of those saved with the person who helped them escape the Nazis.
Around 130 rescued children and family members travelled from around the world to be at the service.
For part of the service four of them spoke to Esther Rantzen about their experiences of travelling to the UK on the Kindertransport.
One of those was Ruth, who was 13 when she travelled to London.
She said she ended up looking after a baby that travelled with her group and fed the infant with chocolate after its milk bottle smashed.
“My memory of looking out of the window and seeing all of the faces of our relatives, tear-stained and in great worry, will stay with me forever,” she said.
Ruth said she had regarded Sir Nicholas as a father, adding: “He was the most human exemplar of humanity we shall ever find.”
For more on Nicholas Winton’s story, see here:
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