He was a shining light during a dark time: Sir Nicholas Winton saved 669 Jewish prisoners in, then called, Czechoslovakia from certain death in a concentration camp. Most of those saved were children at the time and Jewish. For decades, Winton lived a reserved life in secrecy, up until this memorable day.
The BBC came across this unbelievable story in 1988 and wanted to honor the silent hero after all these years in silence.
That is why they invited Sir Nicholas Winton into the studio and placed him in the first row of the audience. The space next to him was taken by a very special person.
During their research, the producers found a list of people who had been smuggled out of the country and saved from the gas chambers. One of these people, a child at the time, was sitting directly next to her rescuer.
It was Vera Diamant, as pictured here as a child. She also had her life to thank to Nicholas Winton.
And she hugged her rescuer immediately, as she discovered that he was sitting next to her. Tears of affection ran down the faces of both. But that was not close to the high point of the of the emotions.
As the camera drew back, displaying the audience in full frame, the presenter asked everyone who had had their lives saved by Nicholas Winton to stand up.
And suddenly several people stood up and applauded. Many even smiled, others cried from emotion. The man in the middle, Sir Nicholas Winton, was completely overwhelmed.
He must have never expected all this. Over the years, the memory of the individual events actions have certainly blurred, but suddenly now came everything rushing back. Tears flowed and no one was ashamed about it. And he who saved 669 from certain death was the least ashamed: Sir Nicholas Winton!
Here is a cut from the show:
This man saved almost 700 people from the worst fate on the planet. That alone is almost impressive enough. But what is even more touching, is his humble reticence concerning the entire affair. The ultimate moment, where all around him stand up, leaves no one cold while the tears flow.
70 years after the end of World War II, this story shows that, even during the darkest times of humanity, there are helpers willing to risk everything for what they believe is right. Share this man's monumental actions, which were done because they were right, not glorious.