UK: Rescuer of Jewish children from Holocaust turns 105
Today Sir Nicholas Winton, the man who saved 669 Jewish children from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia, celebrates his 105th birthday. After celebrating yesterday with his family at his home in Maidenhead, he is scheduled to attend another party today at the Czech Embassy in London to which many of those whom he saved have been invited and where his daughter, Barbara Winton, will launch a book about her father's life.
Just before the outbreak of WWII, Winton organized the transport of 669 Czechoslovak Jewish children from what was then the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to Britain. He arranged documents for them and found British families to take them in.
The first of Winton's trains carrying the Jewish children left Prague's main train station in May 1939. In total he managed to get 669 children out, most of whose families perished during the war; one train which was supposed to depart Prague on 1 September 1939 with 250 children on board was forbidden to leave by the Nazis.
The public did not learn of Winton's meritorious actions for a long time. Holocaust historian Elisabeth Maxwell helped publicize them.
The public became aware of Winton when BBC television filmed a documentary about him in 1988 and he found himself in a television studio with the people he had saved. His daughter has now written a book entitled If it's not impossible ... The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton which will be launched today during her father's birthday celebration - the title of the biography is based on Sir Nicholas Winton's personal motto: "If something is not impossible, there must be a way to do it."
Winton has received many British and Czech state honors. He has received a knighthood, Czech President Václav Havel gave him the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in 1998, and in 2012 he received the Hero of the Holocaust medal from former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
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