Monday, May 5, 2014

Nicholas Winton: Saved 669 Jewish children from the Nazis

Wikipedia   Winton was born in Hampstead, London, the son of German Jewish parents who had moved to London in 1907.[5] Their family name was Wertheim, but they subsequently changed it to Winton in an effort at integration.[6] The family eventually converted to Christianity, and Winton was baptised.[7]

Just before Christmas 1938, Winton was about to travel to Switzerland for a skiing holiday, when he decided instead to travel to Prague to help his friend Martin Blake, who was involved in Jewish refugee work,[5] and had called him asking for his help.[9] There he single-handedly established an organization to aid children from Jewish families at risk from the Nazis. He set up an office at a dining room table in his hotel in Wenceslas Square.[10] In November 1938, shortly after Kristallnacht, the House of Commons approved a measure that would permit the entry of refugees younger than 17 years old into Britain, if they had a place to stay and a warranty of £50 was deposited for a ticket for their eventual return to their country of origin.[11][...]

Winton kept quiet about his humanitarian exploits for many years, until his wife Grete found a detailed scrapbook in their attic in 1988.[20] It contained lists of the children, including their parents' names, and the names and addresses of the families that took them in. By sending letters to these addresses, 80 of "Winton's children" were found in Britain.[20] The world found out about his work in 1988 during an episode of the BBC television programme That's Life! [21] when he was invited as a member of the audience. At one point Winton's scrapbook was shown, and his achievements explained. The host of the programme, Esther Rantzen, asked whether any in the audience owed their lives to Winton, and, if so, to stand – more than two dozen people surrounding Winton rose and applauded.[22] 



12 comments :

  1. Unbelievable.

    Tzaddik yesod olam.

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  2. What I find most fascinating about this story is the words 'too much emphasis of the past'.

    This is a man who can be very proud of what he has already done.. but chooses to do more and more.

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  3. What a phenomenal inspirational man
    Thank you for posting

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  4. Tzaddik. What an irony that an entire community of 8,000 Jews cannot rally together to rescue just 2 little neshomos that are crying out for help today.

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  5. Yeish koineh olomo beshaah achasMay 5, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    What a shame he was converted out of the faith. Where were the kids placed? are any practicing Yiddishkeit today?
    What a musar what a 2 week vocation could do. Yeish Koineh oilomo beshoah achas.

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  6. Esther LowensteinMay 5, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    What an exceptional man! He should never be forgotten, just like the other heroes in World War II - Feng-Shan Ho, Irena Sendler, Hugh O’Flaherty, Giorgio Perlasca, Chiune Sugihara, Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, Frank Foley, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Dimitar Peshev, Raoul Wallenberg and Pope Pius XII.

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  7. Perhaps he'll do teshuva before he dies for not keeping Yiddishkeit and be zoche to olam haba because of his great deeds.

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    1. Really!!! He bought his olam haba 80 times, his deeds were his tshuvah.

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    2. He did not keep any of the mitzvos or avoid any of the aveiros except for the wonderful deeds that he did in saving the children. He certainly deserves a great reward. However, someone who doesn't believe in techiyas hamaysim min hatorah is not eligible for Olam Haba. I've never heard of any exceptions for that.

      What Olam Haba would he merit? He certainly wouldn't seem to merit a Jewish Olam Haba. He doesn't seem to be eligible for a non Jewish Olam Haba.

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    3. It would be a good idea for some shomrei Torah that live near him to get to know him so that perhaps they could have him say vidui before he dies. That would insure his portion in Olam Haba

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  8. A good deed is not destructible. In the time of the Marsho a very wicked man died, and because there was no sin he did not commit and because he was so flagrant and anti-Torah, somebody went over to his body being prepared for burial and pulled his nose. Everyone burst out laughing. Later on, the dead man appeared in a dream to the one who pulled his nose and demanded a Din Torah in heaven. "You have insulted a Torah scholar" he claimed. This went on night after night. The dead man constantly appeared and demanded that the one who pulled his nose must die and come to heaven to be judged with him for the sin of insulting a Torah scholar. Finally, the man came to the Marsho and told him the story. The Marsho said, "Sleep in my house. When the dead man comes to you, cry out, and I will come and talk to him." And so it was. The Marsho heard the voice of the man who came to him for help and rushed to talk to the dead man. "What is this about you being a Talmid Chochom?" asked the Marsho. "Everyone knows you did every sin in the Torah and never learned Torah."
    "Yes," said the dead man. "But one day I saw a Jew drowning and and pulled him to dry land. He lay helpless on the ground and I felt sorry for him and brought him to my house and nursed him back to health. When he got better it seemed that he was a Torah scholar who had no money, so I supported him. Now in heaven I am surrounded by angels created by this man's learning and my kindness. I demand a Din Torah for being humiliated."
    The Marsha replied, "True, you certainly deserve much credit for saving a man's life and for your kindness in supporting a Torah scholar for many years. But what happened to all of your sins?"
    The man replied, "There are thousands of evil angels who want to tear me limb from limb but the angels of the good deed I did surround me and nobody can harm me."
    The Marsha said, "Now, when you will get this man punished, the angels of punishment will say, "If this man who pulled his nose can die,and be destroyed, surely the sinner himself, despite his good deeds, can be punished for a lifetime of terrible sins." The dead man disappeared and never showed up again.
    Thus, a totally evil man was rewarded as if he was a Torah scholar, and his huge collection of sin was ignored. Surely this man who was an innocent victim of the times when he went with his parents to a country without any Torah, and then saved so many children, how can we doubt that he will receive a great reward?

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  9. About a hundred years ago in Jerusalem the old inhabitants, deeply Orthodox Jews, were very upset at the Communists and others who had arrived and were changing Israel into a secular community. Once there was a tragedy and some deeply Orthodox Jews said that the punishment was because of these Russian Communist Jews. Reb Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, disagreed. These people served in the Czar's army for many years and were tortured to convert but did not. They never learned Torah and know nothing about it. How can they be punished? But we who do learn Torah and yet sin, are intention sinners and our sins are very severe because of that. The fault for the tragedies is thus not on them but on us.

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