Sir Nicholas Winton has been called “one of the greatest humanitarians of out time,” for his heroic efforts to save the children of Czechoslovakia from Hitler’s Nazi invasion. The documentary “The Power of Good” explains,
Nicholas Winton, together with his team (his mother, a secretary, and other concerned individuals) managed to save 669 endangered children, most of them Jewish, from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis and Nazi collaborators. Convinced that war was imminent, Winton organized eight rescue missions in 1939 that took children from Prague, the capital of the former Czechoslovakia and the city soon to be occupied by the Nazis, to Great Britain. There they were placed with families, stayed in hostels, were placed on farms, or were even placed in boarding schools (very few went to boarding schools). The final train, carrying 250 children, was scheduled to leave on September 1, 1939, but never did. Hitler’s troops invaded Poland that same day and the borders were closed. Two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany. None of the children who were to have been on that final train were ever seen again.
After the war, Winton did not tell anyone, including his wife Grete about his efforts to rescue the children of Czechoslovakia, or of the 669 who were successfully brought to Great Britain. In fact, it was not until 1987, when his wife found a scrapbook from 1939 with “all the children’s photos, a complete list of names, a few letters from parents of the children to Winton and other documents,” that she learned her husband was a true hero. Grete shared the story with a Holocaust scholar and wife of the British newspaper mogule Robert Maxwell, Dr. Elizabeth Maxwell who, in February, 1988, had the amazing story published in the Sunday Mirror, a British newspaper. The story was also featured on the BBC television series That’s Life. As a result of the publication and television coverage of the story, Winton was actually reunited with many of the children he rescued.
Watch the video of one of the reunions.
Special thinks to Upworthy for bringing this video forward again!