u3a - Kindertransport Memories - Mo Wright

Mo Wright

Member of Maidenhead u3a, paying tribute to fellow u3a member Sir Nicholas Winton

Nicholas Winton was a young stockbroker in London at age 29. At the start of the Second World War, he identified the critical need to save children in Prague. 

He helped 689 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi occupation to travel out of Czechoslovakia to Britain. He succeeded - despite battling bureaucracies in Czechoslovakia, Holland and England. In total there were eight trains travelling across four countries. His team persuaded British customs officials to allow all the children in, even those with incomplete documentation.

Whilst working in Paris after the war, Sir Nicholas met his Danish wife. They married and settled in Maidenhead where they had three children, Nick, Barbara and Robin. Sadly, Robin died at the age of 5 as a result of Down’s Syndrome.

Nicholas Winton never told anybody about his ‘war work’; even his wife never knew. However, on moving house, it was his wife who found the letters and papers in the loft. This is when the whole world paid tribute to Sir Nicholas Winton as he became.

In March 2003 the Queen knighted Sir Nicholas Winton. He was also president of The Rotary Club of Maidenhead. A rescued Jewish boy, the former Labour MP Lord Dubs, paid the following tribute to Sir Nicholas “He was just one of those very special human beings. The real fact is that he was a man who saved my life and a lot of us who came on the Kindertransport owe him an enormous debt. His legacy is that when there is a need for you to do something for your fellow human rings, you have to do it.”

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