Unsung Hero





Nicholas Winton never forgot the sight when the exhausted children from Czechoslovakia piled out of the trains at London's Liverpool Street station. All wore name tags around their necks. One by one, English foster parents collected the refugee children and took them home, keeping them safe from the war and the genocide that was about to consume their families back home.

Winton, who gave these children the gift of life, watched from a distance ..

Vera Gissing, one of the children saved by Winton, has written his biography and scripted the film, Power of Humanity. She says:

'He rescued the greater part of the Jewish children of my generation in Czechoslovakia. Very few of us met our parents again: they perished in concentration camps. Had we not been spirited away, we would have been murdered alongside them.'

"Winton's Children"
on the train

In September, 2001, Nicholas Winton was the guest of honor at the film premiere of his story in Prague. Winton was invited to the launch by Czech president Vaclav Havel and around 250 of the 664 people he saved was at the event. The biography Nicholas Winton and the Rescued Generation by Muriel Emmanuel and Vera Gissing (Vallentine Mithchell Press) was published months later.

Winton insists he wasn't anything special, adding, 'I just saw what was going on and did what I could to help.' But survivor Vera Gissing said: 'I owe him my life and those of my children and grandchildren. I was lucky to get out when I did and having the chance to thank Nicky was the most precious moment in my life.'

Jewish refugee children
- members of the first Kindertransport

The survivors, though many are now grandparents, still call themselves 'Winton's children.' Among the children saved were Dagmar Simova, cousin of the Czech-born U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines, whose father, Rudolf Fleischmann saved Thomas Mann by assisting him to gain Czech citizenship for his self-imposed exile from Germany after the rise of Hitler. Joe Schlesinger, the CBC correspondent. Julius Sidon from California, the brother to Chief Rabbi Karol E. Sidon of the Czech Republic. Lord Alfred Dubs, a Member of Parliament and former Minister of Blair's Government. Tom Schrecker, who set up Readers Digest in several countries. Hugo Merom, the ex-Israel air force pilot and architect of airports.

And acclaimed film director Karel Reisz. 45 years later Reisz actually met Nicholas Winton at the first reunion. 'I had never heard of him. I thought the Red Cross had organized it,' he said. 'I took my children and grandchildren - I think it brought it alive to them to learn where their grandfather came from. It was very emotional ..'

Karel Reisz died 25 November 2002.





Louis Bülow Privacy  ©2011-13
www.oskarschindler.com  www.emilieschindler.com   www.izieu.com   www.annefrank.dk   www.shoah.dk   www.auschwitz.dk