Former British stockbroker Nicholas Winton who is recognized throughout history for his rescue of almost 700 children from meeting their untimely death at the Nazi death camps died at the age of 106 years old on Wednesday. Winton’s son-in-law, Stephen Watson, told the media that his dad died peacefully in his sleep in England.
His good deed occurred the night before World War II where hundreds of Jewish kids from the Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia were on their way to the death camps.
British stockbroker Nicholas Winton was born to Jewish parents and has been involved with stockbroking for most of his adult life. It was his last minute decision of making a pit stop in Prague to meet with a friend that saved these children from their terrible fate. According to the late hero, he initially had plans of travelling to Switzerland for a skiing trip before deciding on a last minute change on his travel itinerary.
During his visit, Winton decided and organized the rescue of a total of 669 Czechoslovakian children for their safe escape Britain where he successfully found them a home.
His deed was uncovered by his wife who found a scrapbook in an upstairs bedroom in 1988 that contained the names, photos and documents detailing the vivid story of the rescue of these children. It was only at this time that Winton finally admitted to his rescue of the children whose parents gave them up so as not to suffer from the terrible fate that awaits them at concentration camps and untimely death.
Knighted in 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II and awarded the highest honor of the Czech Republic by President Milot Zeman back in 2014, Winton still remains a humble hero who was also silent about his nearly five decades of humanitarian work.
He is compared to several other World War II heroes such as Schindler, the German who saved 1,00- Jews by employing them at his factory and the Swedish businessman Wallenberg who produced fraudulent passports and hideways to save thousands of Jews in the then Nazi occupied Hungary.
A partial list of the names of the hundreds of kids he saved detailing their current whereabouts can be seen and updated as of 2015.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that “the world has lost a great man,” while Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis praised Winton’s “exceptional courage, selflessness, and modesty.” Back in 2009, during the premier of the BBC documentary about his life Winton had no idea that the people he was surrounded with were now the grown children he rescued from that night.
He was left in tears.