Friday, September 25, 2009

Fullbore Friday

What have you done with your life?
He was packing to go skiing just before Christmas in 1938 when he received a call from a friend working in a refugee camp in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.

"Cancel your holiday," said the friend, Martin Blake. "I need you in Prague. Don't bring your skis."

The young banker was so moved by what he saw that he immediately set about persuading the British authorities to let in refugee children. The response was sluggish.

But after much work by Winton, a Christian whose family had Jewish roots, the paperwork for each child was painstakingly put in order.

Finally the wheels began to move.

Between March and August 1939 eight trains carried 669 children to Britain, who otherwise would probably have perished in the death camps. Fifteen thousand Czechoslovakian children died in the war.
Read it all. Sir Nicholas Winston is still with us - and has a story to tell.

As a side-bar, next time you hear someone bragg'n about what they have "done," remember this.
Almost as remarkable as the scheme itself, and a mark of Sir Nicholas's modesty, was that he chose to conceal his achievements for decades.

It was only when he wife Greta unearthed a briefcase in the attic contained lists of the children he saved and letters to the parents did he admit his part.

He said in 1999: "My wife didn't know about it for 40 years after our marriage, but there are all kinds of things you don't talk about even with your family.
Hat tip Steve.

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