Nicholas “Savior” Winton –The Backdrop
The Jewish Holocaust was one of the most horrific genocide that was unleashed by Hitler’s Nazi troops all over German occupied Europe. The identification and systematic elimination of the Jews leading to the annihilation of the entire Jewish race was termed as the “Final Solution”, devised by Adolf Eichmann who was one of Hitler’s trusted aides. The entire exercise saw the murder of almost 60 million Jews, including women and children either shot point-black by the German army or suffocated in the gas chambers of the concentration camps built by the Nazi’s for this purpose across Europe. However, a few of them, miraculously, were lucky enough to escape the gruesome torture and death as one ordinary citizen came to their rescue and made it happen. The architect of this “Solution” was however, a British Citizen Sir Nicholas George Winton also known as “British Schindler” for his contribution as a Savior to the cause.
The way it unfolded
Sir Nicholas Winton, born in Hampstead, England to German-Jewish parents, was a stockbroker by profession who happened to be in Czechoslovakia during the late 1930’s where it all started. Talk about “Being at the right place at the right time”. He was instrumental in saving almost 660 children who ran the risk of being murdered by the Hitler’s Nazi army shortly after they invaded Czechoslovakia in the winter of 1938. While the German invasion spelled doom for the entire Jewish race, especially those in Europe, as Hitler’s plans eventually unfolded, Sir Nicholas “Savior” Winton rose to the occasion as the “ Good prevailed over the Bad”. Sir Winton however, never had this planned in the initial stages. While he was planning for a vacation in Switzerland, he was called to volunteer for the Czechoslovakian Refugee Committee along with a few British and Canadian volunteers. As a part of the Refugee Committee, he was instrumental in chalking out the entire process to chalk out the rescue path for all these children which involved getting the British to allow staying in England and the Netherlands Government to allow the children to pass through their country to reach England. However, the most difficult part was to convince British families to accept the children and look after their well-being, which he achieved by posting the details of the children along with their photographs. Several families in Britain reverberated on the same tune as Sir Winston and accepted the children as a part of their family. However, he rued the fact that in spite of his approach to the United States President on similar grounds, the US Government, which could have saved a few thousand more of these innocent but desolate children, never agreed to help. The best part of this entire story is probably the fact that for almost 50 years such a noble cause and the person behind it, went unnoticed till the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) televised a program that re-united him with the children he had saved. Needless to say, emotions ran high for this “Saint of a Man”.
Defining the word “Savior” for his efforts, Nicholas “Savior” Winton not only rescue these children from the clutches of death but also gave them a respectable life, Sir Winston was awarded the prestigious “ Knighthood” by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 for his contribution in “ Services to Humanity”. Several documentaries have been made on the life and times of this famous humanitarian and the way he spread “Peace, in the times of War”. This nobleman however, left for his heavenly abode in 2015, at the age of 106. An upcoming Hollywood movie “One Life”, based on his life and exploits is currently under production, set to release in 2023 with the famous Anthony Hopkins playing the infamous Sir Nicholas George Winton.
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