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Sir Nicholas Winton RIP

03/07/2015

Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved the entire world.
-Talmud

Sir Nicholas Winton, the man dubbed Britain’s Schindler passed away earlier this week. He was 106.

Winton earned the moniker for his remarkable efforts in organising trains to relocate over 650 Jewish children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia in 1938, saving them from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis.

After Winton, a 28 year-old stock broker, had learnt of the plight of Jewish people on an earlier trip to Prague he resolved to take action.

As time magazine reported in their obituary, it was in the face of official unresponsiveness he set himself up as the one-man children’s section of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia. He also laboured to find Britons who would open up their homes and take in the refugees.

Winton was an astoundingly humble man who did not speak of his accomplishment after the war and it was only after his wife found a scrapbook featuring names and details of the children he had saved.

I did not learn of Winton’s story until 60 Minutes profiled him in a story last year (video provided below).

His story was a reminder to me that we all possess the power to do good in difficult times and we should not simply pass the buck on moral challenges but rather take action when we see a need.

I was so moved by Winton’s story when I watch his 60 minutes profile, I was compelled to write them an email. Here is what I wrote:

I was touched by the remarkable and hitherto largely unheralded story of Nicholas Winton which aired during your broadcast of 27 May.
Despite the inertia of official channels, Winton managed to save the lives of 669 Jewish Czech children from the clutches of the Nazis prior to war breaking out in September 1939.
Winton did not wait for someone else to do something, he did not wait for official channels to provide a solution. He saw a danger to people and thought I can do something to help.
The story of Nicholas Winton reminds us not to abdicate our moral agency to higher entities but that the power to do good lies within all of us.
Sir Nicholas Winton, RIP.
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