London, U.K. – Sir Nicholas George Winton is a true hero of humanity, whose name you may have never heard before. On the eve of World War II, in an operation known as Czech Kindertransport, Winston organized the rescue and passage to Britain of more than 650, mostly Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
The British humanitarian arranged for the safe passage of the children to Britain and found homes for the children, many of whose parents ultimately perished in Auschwitz . The British press has dubbed him the “British Schindler.”
On May 19, Winton celebrated his 106th birthday.
For most of his life, Winton never revealed his extreme heroism, until 1988, when his wife Grete found a scrapbook in the couple’s attic which contained the names of children saved, along with their parents’ names, as well as the names and addresses of the families that accepted them into their homes. Ultimately, 80 of “Winton’s children” were found in Britain by sending letters to the addresses found.
In October 2014, Czech President Miloš Zeman bestowed upon Winton the highest honor of the Czech Republic, the Order of the White Lion, as a sign of gratitude for his courageous deeds over the course of the Holocaust. He was also nominated, by the Czech Republic, for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.
But the most touching moment for Winton came when the world was introduced to his humanitarian deeds during a 1988 broadcast of the British television program That’s Life!, after he was invited to the show as an audience member. In an absolutely touching moment, the scrapbook is shown, as the host of the program then asks if anyone in the audience owes their life to Winton, asking them to stand if so. Virtually everyone in the audience rises to their feet, revealing themselves as the Jewish children saved by Winton 50 years earlier.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.