04 September 2009


Why don't I already know this? Ok, I am aware of the state of education in America, it is why I homeschool. This story should be part of every study of World War II, or just of society's response to war in general.
We should all be aware that change is possible, and it can be anyone who effects it, not just the rich and famous or those with clout, but sometimes just an ordinary man can make a difference that saves OVER 600 children from certain death. Winton has insisted that he wasn't doing anything special, "I just saw what was going on, and did what I could to help." Try telling that to the 669 people who made it out of Czechoslovakia and the 5000 children and grandchildren who WOULD NOT EXIST if Sir Nicholas Winton hadn't seen what was happening in the early days of Nazi expansion and done what he could to help. The article here is a good one for the heart of the story.

Sir Nicholas with one of the Czech children saved on his "kindertransport"

Sir Nicholas is currently 100 years old, and has survived to see the recreation of his life-saving trip by survivors, their family members and students who were selected to ride along. He was waiting for them at London's Liverpool Street Station as the vintage steam train pulled in. It truly is a wonderful story, check out my links throughout this post to learn more. Not only did this gentleman feel that a situation was wrong and want to do something to rectify it, he arranges endless details on both the Czech and British side of the journey, lined up foster families for the children and each child also needed a 50 pound "guarantee" (in 1939, remember) and he had to raise the money to cover any additional costs of transporting the children when they parents could not cover the total amount. The parents. Let's think about them for a moment. These were Jewish parents terrified of the encroaching Nazis. Knowing that time was limited and unable to pick up and leave, they lined up in a hotel dining room in Wenceslas Square in Prague and did what they could to at least save their children. Imagine the scene. Then move to the train station on the day of the children's departure. War always causes the unthinkable to become reality. I don't like to imagine the scenario that would have me lined up to send my children away from me. Thank God for Sir Nicholas Winton and all those who worked with him to save a generation of Jewish children from the fate that awaited them at home. Their families perished in concentration camps. A ninth and final train that was scheduled to leave the station with 250 children on it never departed Prague. It disappeared on September 3, 1939. The day Britain entered the war. 250 foster families waited in the Liverpool station for children that never arrived. Not one of those children was ever heard of again.

Jews who escaped Nazis as kids recreate train trip

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Nicholas Winton, photo: CTK


Run Lori Run said...

You're right, it takes a real hero to actually DO something like this. What a nice post to read today.

Humming Sue said...

wow, this guy is something else.