Czechs pay respects to Sir Nicholas Winton

Jewish children’s rescuer has a statue in his honor at the main train station

Prague, July 3 (ČTK) — Dozens of people came to the Prague’s main railway station Praha hlavní nádraží to commemorate the recent death of Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved over 650 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia from almost certain death in Nazi extermination camps on the eve of World War II.

On Wednesday, Winton died at the age of 106.

At the statue devoted to him, the people were lighting candles and laying flowers.

The first candles on the platform from which trains with Czechoslovak children of Jewish origin were leaving appeared a few hours after Winton’s death was announced.

Since then, scores of others were placed there.

In 1939, Winton saved 669 Czechoslovak Jewish children by organizing their transport by trains from the then Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to Britain. The first train with the kids left Prague in May 1939. The last one, with 250 children, was to depart on Sept. 1, 1939, but the Nazi forbade its departure as the war has broken out meanwhile.

Sir Nicholas received the highest Czech state decoration, the Order of the White Lion, last October. Czech civic groups repeatedly promoted his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Winton has been presented with a number of British and Czech awards, and he has been knighted. In 1998, then Czech president Vaclav Havel presented him with the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and in 2010 he received the Hero of the Holocaust medal from the then British PM Gordon Brown.

The mourners stopped at the statue during a moment of silence. The event was attended by Transport Minister Dan Ťok and representatives of the Czech Railways.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the above article. The keen respect my compatriots are paying to Sir Winton is more than deserved. There are dozens of deplorable aspects of our political scenery (which I am not going to enumerate), but this is at least something to compensate…
    The full acceptance of Jews, lots of young people studying judaism, numerous Jewish cemeteries, synagogues and monuments that are being refurbished in this country also appear as a sort of counterbalance (of alcoholism, aggresivity etc.) at the correct side of the scales.

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