The Winton Train

The other day I was reading news when I came across this story.

Jews who escaped Nazis as kids recreate train trip

In the winter of 1938, Nicholas Winton, (born 19 May 1909 in London), a British stock broker traveled to what was then Czechoslovakia at the invitation of a friend working at the British Embassy.

Alarmed by the influx of refugees from the Sudetenland region recently annexed by Germany, the young man feared — correctly — that Czechoslovakia soon would be invaded by the Nazis and Jewish residents would be sent to concentration camps.

He immediately began organizing a way to get Jewish children out of the country.

So began a tale of a young man who saw a great evil and decided to do something about it. Between March and September 1939, Sir Nicholas managed to rescue and transport 669 children by train from Prague to London.

The largest evacuation was scheduled for Sept. 3, 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany. That train never left, and almost none of the 250 children trying to flee that day survived the war.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the rescue, a vintage train carrying some two dozen survivors along with members of their families, recreated their escape from certain death at the hands of the Nazi’s. There, they were greeted by Sir Nicholas. Frail and in a wheelchair, he stood briefly with the help of a cane and shook hands with the former evacuees as they stepped off the train.

“It’s wonderful to see you all after 70 years,” a beaming Winton told the survivors, some of whom he was meeting for the first time. “Don’t leave it quite so long until we meet here again.”

Sir Nicholas, who is 100 years old, never told anyone what he did. He claimed no credit for saving almost 700 children, children who otherwise would have been murdered in the Nazi death camps. The story came out when his wife found some correspondence referring to the prewar events.

Sir Nicholas is one of the true heroes of World War 2. He didn’t lead men into battle, or conduct dangerous missions. He didn’t risk his life like Oscar Schindler, Chiune Sugihara, John Rabe or Raoul Wallenberg, but he is no less a great man.

A web site has been set up to record for history the acts of decency of Sir Nicholas Winton. We strongly urge you to visit The Winton Train site.

I normally tend to write about the abuses of government and go on screaming rants about almost anything. Every once in a while I come across something that just needs to be spread out over the globe. This is one such story. We must never forget people like Sir Nicholas and the others or what they did. If we do forget, we are doomed to repeat these horrible mistakes.

Thank you Sir Nicholas, and to all the others who risked, and in some cases gave all they had to save the innocents of the world.

~The Angry Webmaster~

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*UPDATE*

There is a very good Wikipedia page on the Winton train.

The largest evacuation was scheduled for Sept. 3, 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany. That train never left, and almost none of the 250 children trying to flee that day survived the war.
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