London Hero – World Heroes 3

Just a few weeks ago, in London, a very special man named Sir Nicholas Winton celebrated his 100th birthday, and at least 5,000 other people, “very special” to Sir Nicholas were celebrating with him, throughout the world as they had, earlier this September, when many of them met him in London, again, after 70 years, for a huge reunion.

What’s it all about?

Well, when you are in London, go to Liverpool Street railway station and see the large group bronze statue by Frank Meisler, at the entrance. It matches another version, by British artist, Flor Kent, at the main railway station in Prague, on the platform where trains leave for England.

One of the statues depicts a young Sir Nicholas Winton holding some of the children he saved. In fact, the child on the Czech statue is actually modeled using one of the real “Winton Children’s” grandchildren.

In 1939, a close friend, Martin Blake, who was working in Prague’s refugee camps, sent a telegram to Nicholas saying: ”Cancel your holiday. I need you in Prague. Don’t bring your skis.”

Germany had just annexed the Sudetenland, a disputed territory next to Czechoslovakia. Sir Nicholas said, ”I knew I had to do something when I saw the desperation of those people in the camps, especially the children. There was aid for the elderly and vulnerable, but no one was thinking of the children.”

The statues were revealed September 1st and September 4th, 2009 at the beginning and at the terminus of a 3 day replica train journey which was undertaken by the “children” Nicholas saved, accompanied by their own children and grandchildren. As before, Sir Nicholas met them at Liverpool Street station, but this time, his own children and grandchildren were on the train, too.

“Everyone, whether they were children, adults or elderly, was in tears,” said Alice Klimova, who was on one of the eight trains that ferried a total of 669 children to safety in Britain as war broke out in 1939.

With a twinkle in his eye, this “Pied Piper of Prague” greeted all his “children” with “It’s wonderful to see you all after 70 years,” he said, shaking hands with former evacuees as they stepped off the train. “Don’t leave it quite so long until we meet here again.”

He has been honored in special ways for his great, singular dedication to the “children” by having 53,000 Czech children nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize (he certainly deserved it), as well as having his name used for a small planet that was discovered by Czech astronomer Matej Minac. Now, he truly is among the “stars”, but it’s his stellar effort which I want to highlight.

So, please read about his amazing actions at:
British Hero, Sir Nicholas Winton

Sir Nicholas remembers:
A table and typewriter in a Prague hotel room became his office. Jewish parents queued deep into the night to plead for places for their children to ”the Englishman of Wenceslas Square”. ”Those parents were desperate, and it was heartbreaking to listen to their stories,” he recalls. ”They knew all too well what their fate was likely to be. Their first thought was for the little ones. Never themselves. Practically all those parents perished in the camps.”

Sir Nicholas never expected to win the Nobel, but I would want to know why he and Irena Sendler never did.

Sir Nicholas still thinks constantly of the children left behind and of the 15,000 Czech children who died at the hands of the Nazis.

”Thousands of children were lost because Britain was the only country willing to take them*,” he says. ”If others had done the same we could have saved more. Anyone feels angry if they feel something could have been done and it was not done.”

Learn how he did make a difference. Be inspired. Take a chance to make some Good happen while you live your life, too.

* a few unaccompanied children were sent to Sweden which was neutral, and accepted them, along with all the Danish Jews, which the Danish government made sure survived. Albania’s Muslims also sheltered about 10,000 Jews who managed to find their way there. America only saved about 1,000 European Jewish children – that’s a total disgrace, along with Canada doing basically nothing.

During the time leading up to WW2 and during the war, the Bergson Group was a lobbying group in the USA to get the American Government to act; it was a group run by Jews but which presented themselves without that being publically-known.

But, even they and their organized march in Washington by 400 Rabbis (which was the only rally for rescue held in the nation’s capital during the Holocaust), could not stop the Abandonment of the Jews by America.

Since the war, about 22,000 non-Jews have been recognized by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum, as recipients of Israel’s highest honor, the “Righteous Among the Nations” award, including 63 – predominantly Muslim honorees – from Albania.

To date, more than 70 Muslims have received the award.

No Arabs have received the honor, although one candidate, from Tunisia, in January became the first Arab to be nominated for the award.

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©2009 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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