British humanitarian Nicholas Winton saved 669 children from the hands of the Nazi’s during the Holocaust. The children were on the way to be sent to death camps, but the stockbroker planned a way for the children’s escape from Nazi occupied Prague.
The 29-year-old organized transporting including eight trains from Prague and Vienna to carry out the mission. He worked during his afternoons to plan for the children’s escape.
He had to convince Britain authorities to allow the children into the country. The Holocaust Museum reported that Winton created a Children’s Section and used the name “of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, initially without authorization, began taking applications from parents at his hotel in Prague," where parents were desperate to keep their children safe.
"As his operation expanded, he opened an office in central Prague. Soon, thousands of parents lined up outside of Winton's Children Section's office seeking a safe haven for their children.”
No one knew about what he accomplished until 1988 when his wife found a list of the names and a scrapbook of the saved children. The word got out and recognition followed. "One can only hope somehow or other, goodness, kindness, truth, honor will prevail," Winton said in a speech in Prague.
Winton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions in 2003 and was made an honorary citizen of Prague.
"So there is a formidable task ahead and all one can say, all I can say, is that whereas the message originally never fulfilled itself, this time we have much better means of communication and one can only hope somehow or other, goodness, kindness, truth, honor will prevail and people will realize it’s not good enough just to say “Today I have done no harm , I've been a good person” but should have been able to say “I was given the opportunity today and I did do some good.”
Nicholas Winton died at the age of 106, and his contributions made to humanity will never go unnoticed again.
"I never thought what I did 70 years ago was going to have such a big impact as apparently it has. If it is now going to help people to live for the future, that would be an added bonus."
May we never forget the bravery of men like Nicholas Winton.