Today’s Google Doodle is honouring the life of ‘Britain’s Schindler’, humanitarian Nicholas Winton.
Born on this day in 1909, Nicholas Winton established a rescue organisation which transported hundreds of mostly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War and found them safe homes in Britain.
Today’s Doodle honours his life and the lives of the hundreds of people he saved.
Here’s all you need to know about Nicholas Winton.
Who was Nicholas Winton?
Nicholas Winton was born 111 years ago today to German-Jewish parents who had emigrated to Britain.
While he worked as a broker for the London Stock Exchange, Winton was also an ardent socialist.
He visited Prague in 1938, cancelling a Swiss skiing holiday after a friend called on him to help Jewish refugees in Czechoslovakia, which was in the process of being occupied by Nazi Germany.
Winton decided to set up an organisation to help Jewish children who were at risk from Nazis, meeting parents in his Prague hotel room desperate to save their children.
The British government had approved a measure in November to allow unaccompanied refugees younger than 17 into Britain, as long as they had a place to stay and a deposit of £50 for their eventual return journey.
Winston, along with his mother and some volunteers, worked throughout the summer of 1939 placing photographs of the children in newspapers to find families to take them in.
After Kristallnacht in November 1938, the Dutch government closed its borders to Jewish refugees. However, by bribing members of the Gestapo and forging Home Office permits, Winston managed to evacuate and find British homes for 669 children – almost all of whose parents would be killed in concentration camps during the war.
Winston was part of the Royal Air Force in World War Two, promoted to pilot officer in 1944.
After the war, he worked worked for the International Refugee Organisation and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Paris, where he met his Danish wife, Grete Gjelstrup. They married in Denmark and had three children.
Winston’s war efforts went unnoticed for fifty years, until his wife found a scrapbook in their attic in 1988, which contained details about the rescued children and the names and addresses of families that took them in.
Winton’s war work became well-known after was invited to be in the audience of the BBC television show That’s Life! in February 1988. After showing Winston’s scrapbook and describing his achievements, the host Esther Rantzen asked anybody in the audience to stand up if they owed their lives to Winton, and more than two dozen people surrounding him stood up and applauded.
Winton died in 2015, at 106 years old. He died 76 years to the day after 241 of the children he saved left Prague on a train.
Among other commendations, he was awarded a knighthood and MBE, and an Order of the White Lion, Czech’s highest honour, and several statues of him have been built in Prague and the UK.
Article Source: standard.co.uk