Nicholas Winton, A Silent Hero

May 8th 1945, the end of the second world war. A relief for thousands of people across the world; especially in the depths of Europe. It was a tough time for many but no one was hit as hard as the Jews and this week we commemorate the millions of Jews who were sinfully murdered at the command of one power-hungry man. The theme for this 70th year anniversary is “Keep the memory alive”.

We’ve all heard the dreadful stories of families brutally murdered trying to escape, or the poor children killed under unexplained conditions and the miraculous survivors who lived to tell the tale. In fact, some stories are so famous that they have been turned into books. An example would be “Anne Frank”.

… he will always be embedded in the hearts of the Czechs

Something that has not been told over and over again and has not been published and filled the bookshelves of schools worldwide, is the story of Nicholas Winton. His pure bravery and kind soul are still present in his 105 year old body. Today he is recognised as ‘the silent hero’ of the Czech Republic. In fact, only a few months ago, he was rewarded the “Order of the White Lion” by the Czech President.

It was winter 1938, Nicholas Winton and his close friend (Martin Blake) were planning a skiing holiday in Switzerland. They had heard good reviews about this place and couldn’t wait to get a first taste of skiing. Unfortunately, around about that time there was trouble boiling up not far East. Since Hitler had come to power he had been trying his best to make Germany as great as possible. He was already invading countries like Poland and so on and pretty soon the Germans were going to hit Britain. Winton had always been a good friend and a kind-hearted soul. He didn’t think that going on holiday and having a fun time skiing were things that would help the current situation.

So they changed their plans. Instead of taking a relaxing vacation, they went to Prague. This city had already been hit pretty badly and Winton thought it was the best location. His plan was to rescue all the hundreds and thousands of refugees who had flooded into Prague just after Germany’s invasion of the Sudetenland. He took charge of saving all the homeless children and widows and put them onto eight loads of trains. This went on for nine months. His incredible heroic actions came to an abrupt end after that, Germany invaded Poland and closed the Czech border. The last train of children didn’t get there in time and 250 children were killed in concentration camps.

The Czechs still view Winton as an amazing man and still talk about him being the hero of 1939. We will remember him as a spectacular human being and he will always be embedded in the hearts of the Czechs.