A salute to the 'British Schindler' as he turns 104

tags: Holocaust, Nazis, Guardian (UK), Oskar Shindler, Nicholas Winton



Nicholas Winton is famous because he did not turn over the page. While many British people tut-tutted when they read about the plight of Jews in central Europe under the Nazis in late 1938 and then turned to the next item of news, he took action. At the time, he was working as a broker at the London Stock Exchange and was about to go on a skiing trip as a Christmas break. Instead, he received an urgent call from a friend to come to Prague, where the latter was visiting a refugee camp. Winton cancelled his holiday, went over and saw the situation facing the Jews in the Nazi-occupied part of Czechoslovakia.

Winton became convinced that a human tragedy was looming – which only immediate action could avert – and focused on the need to rescue the endangered children. However, Britain had already set a limit on the number of children it would let in, which was happening through the Kindertransport programme. So he returned to England to persuade the Home Office to grant additional entry permits and for whom he personally would find sponsors so that they were not a burden on the state....




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