Holocaust rescuer Nicholas Winton, known as ‘British Schindler,’ dies at 106

A Kindertransport memorial unveiled by Nicholas Winton in London in 2003. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children during the Holocaust and was dubbed the “British Schindler” (after German Holocaust rescuer Oskar Schindler), has died at the age of 106.

According to his son-in-law Stephen Watson, Winton died peacefully in his sleep at Wexham Hospital in the U.K, the BBC reported. His death coincided with the anniversary of the departure of a train carrying his largest group of rescued children, 241, from Czechoslovakia. During the Holocaust, such rescue-by-train missions were part of a system known as the “Kindertransport.”

For nine months beginning in December 1938, Winton worked in Prague, Czechoslovakia, to save hundreds of children, mainly from Jewish families, from near-certain death. Winton used a new British law that allowed children under 17 to obtain refugee status if they had a deposit placed for their eventual return. His story was hidden from the public for nearly 50 years. Today, more than 370 of the children he saved have never been traced.

But by the time he died, Winton had obtained international fame for his efforts during World War II, including knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

“I called myself Honorary Secretary of the Children’s Section of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia,” Winton told the Washington Post in 1989. 

“The other people, they just called me a bloody nuisance,” he added, referring to government bureaucracies and other entities.

Posted on July 1, 2015 .