Sir Winton saved 669 babies from Nazi death, but he never expected to see them again.

The 1930’s saw the establishment of one of the greatest crimes against humanity—the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The Jews, Polish, and Czech would be hauled off into dark rooms to slowly
have breath torn out of them. There was no mercy at the hands of Nazi Germany, not even for children.

Yet mercy prospered still.


Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images

Nicholas Winton was an ordinary British man at the time. What would make him a man to change the course of history was no more than a need for justice. Winton witnessed extreme prosecution of Jews and Czech citizens, and felt compelled to take action. He single-handedly established the Kinder-transport, a train with the sole purpose of transporting Jewish and at-risk children out of Czechoslovakia and into Prague. It was in this way that he saved 669 children from death alongside the 1.1 million at Auschwitz.

Humanitarian work became Winton’s primary occupation when he began working 24/7 to find families and houses to take in these refugee children. He worked alongside the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia (BCRC), and eventually found British families who all agreed to raise the children till they reached the age of 17.

Winton’s story remained unheard for 5 decades. The only evidence left of this miracle-worker’s past actions was a scrapbook filled with pictures and names of all the children he had saved. This scrapbook collected dust in the Winton family attic for 50 years, until Winton’s wife, Grete, found it.

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Of the 669 children Winton had saved, most were unaware of their origin stories. Winton himself hadn’t seen any of them in these 50 years. When his story received publicity, he was invited onto popular TV show That’s Life to talk about his story. Little did he know that every other member in the audience, was one of the children he had saved.

And so, after 50 years of humble silence, Sir Nicholas Winton was rewarded with tears of joy and gratitude from hundreds of adults who owed him their lives. The program went on to become one of the most touching moments in all of human history.

Real heroes do exist. They don’t need to be given high titles, big salaries, or instructions to heal the world. They do so simply to make it better. Sir Nicholas Winton (1909-2015) was one of the kindest men to live, yet lived most of his life unknown as the true hero and savior that he was.

by Imaan Khasru