I had mean to write about Nick Winton when I found out about his story earlier in the year, but it has taken a recent event involving him to prompt me to get it written. So, who is Nick Winton, and what’s the old codger been up to now..?
Well, that’s Nicholas Winton to you and me.
Sir Nicholas Winton as it happens.
Towards the end of 2014 he took a trip to Czech Republic to pick up their highest citizen award, for something he did 75 years ago. In fact he didn’t get his Knighthood in the UK until 2003, for the same thing he did 75 years ago.
He saved lives.
669 of them.
In Prague in 1939, Winton saw the danger that the children refugees were in, and he was instrumental in getting safe passage for 8 trainloads of them to England. A 9th trainload was stopped when the Nazis closed the border, and those 250 children on board went to the concentration camps.
669 got through, and Winton kept low key about what he’d done, pointing out that he had never really been in danger himself. In fact, the story only really came into public knowledge nearly 50 years later when his wife handed one of Winton’s scrapbooks to a holocaust investigator. The story came to the attention of a newspaper, and the story ran.
A TV show called ‘That’s Life’ ran the story about the scrapbook, and then revealed that not only was Winton in the audience, he had one of the survivors sitting right next to him. It was the video of this moment that first brought the story to my attention, and what happened after brought a lump to my throat.
I know that sounds like terrible click bait, but it’s better to watch the short clip to get the full effect rather than me tell you:
So as I said, he was Knighted in 2003. He says he didn’t trumpet about the story previously because he didn’t think it was something to define his life by, and also that others that helped in the evacuation were not being remembered as much as him simply because he was ‘the only one left.’
That may be true, but I think he’s being modest. He’s fully aware of the impact of what he did. Why shouldn’t we remember people like him and his story?
Yes, there are countless stories of heroism in war, there are countless stories of heroism in peacetime. It could be argued that people who put their lives at risk every day to save others as part of their jobs don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Those are valid points, but nonetheless I was struck by the video, and the story when I researched it further. Seeing Sir Nicholas alive and going strong and being award by the Czechs made me feel like sharing his story again, and if you find it as uplifting as I do, then all the better for that.
Ok, do let me know what you think – I love the feedback! Also, feel free to share, like, tweet etc if you enjoyed the post.
‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. Don’t forget to keep in touch! FB is my favourite facebook.com/thegreatgordino