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Nicholas Winton
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Hero
    (May 19, 1909-July 1, 2015)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Birth name was Nicholas Wertheim
    Organized a series of eight Kindertransporten to rescue 669 children, mostly Jewish, from German-occupied Czechoslovakia (1938-39)
    Nicknamed 'the British Schindler'
    After World War II, worked for the United Nations International Refugee Organization and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
    Knighted (2002)
    He was a stockbroker and 'ardent socialist,' a rather unlikely combination.
    It was often said that even his family did not know about his humanitarian exploits until 1988, when his wife discovered a scrapbook in the attic detailing his work.
    Actually, his family did know about his efforts; instead, 1988 was the year that his wife showed the scrapbook to the producers of 'That's Life' (the BBC's equivalent of This Is Your Life), leading to his achievements being publicized.
    A statue was unveiled at Prague's main railway station depicting him with two children, which is historically inaccurate since he never actually set foot in the station.
    Because of his Jewish heritage (his parents were Jews who converted to Christianity), he was disqualified from being named one of the 'Righteous Among the Nations.'
    He was married to Grete Gjelstrup for 51 years.
    His youngest son Robin died of meningitis the day before his sixth birthday.
    He was fluent in English, French and German.
    He represented England in fencing, and lost a chance to compete in the Olympics when the 1940 Games were cancelled by WWII.
    He served with the Red Cross during the evacuation of the British army from Dunkirk.
    He downplayed his exploits, saying 'I wasn't heroic because I was never in danger.'
    His motto was, 'If it's not impossible, there must be a way to do it.'
    The British Home Secretary called him 'an enduring example of the difference that good people can make in even the darkest of times.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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