Melody Teh

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Thu, 2 Jul, 2015

Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of Jewish children from Holocaust, dies aged 106

Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of Jewish children from Holocaust, dies aged 106

Sir Nicholas Winton, often called the “British Schindler” for his role in rescuing hundreds of Jewish children from the Holocaust, has died at the age of 106.

A hero of World War II, Winton organised the evacuation of 669 children out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to Britain in 1939, saving them from being sent to concentration camps.

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted his respect for the great man, writing: “The world has lost a great man. We must never forget Sir Nicholas Winton's humanity in saving so many children from the Holocaust."

The unassuming hero kept his role in the rescues secret for half-a-century – even from his wife and children. It was only in 1988 that his wife, Grete, who discovered a scrapbook containing the names of the rescued children, convinced him to share his story.

Explaining his motivation, he told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last year that he was very aware of the urgency of the situation in 1939.

“I knew better than most, and certainly better than the politicians, what was going on in Germany. We had, staying with us, people who were refugees from Germany at that time. Some who knew they were in danger of their lives,” he said.

Winton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2003 and last year, at the age of 105, Winton received the Czech Republic’s highest honour, the Order of the White Lion, for his actions.

Winton's son-in-law, Stephen Watson, said he died peacefully in his sleep at a hospital in the UK. 

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