Britain's Own Schindler; the Extraordinary Story of the British Banker Who Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children from under Hitler's Nose as the Nazis Began Their Reign of Terror
Byline: GENEVIEVE FOX
FOR 30-year-old Nicholas Winton it should have been the quiet end to another unremarkable day. But the phone call he received on his return from work at the London Stock Exchange to his small Hampstead flat that December evening in 1938 changed his life.
The caller was his old friend Martin Blake and Winton assumed he had some last-minute arrangements for their forthcoming ski trip to Switzerland. 'The skiing's off,' said Blake, a Westminster schoolmaster. 'I am off to Prague instead.
I have a most interesting assignment and I need your help. Come as soon as you can. And don't bother bringing your skis.' Winton had known Blake for so long that he wasn't at all perturbed by the cryptic invitation. He trusted his friend.
He duly changed his travel arrangements and set off for Prague as soon as he could.
When the slim, bespectacled young man arrived at Prague's Hotel Sroubek (now Hotel Europa) late on a Tuesday evening just before Christmas, he had no idea what power he would come to wield.
He certainly did not imagine that between March 1939, when German forces marched into Czechoslovakia, and the outbreak of World War II in September that year, he would become the sav-iour of more than 600 Czechoslovakian Jewish children; that he would enter their names on a list as sacred as that drawn up by the industrialist Oskar Schindler some five years later; and that his name would be blessed, to this day, by those he helped to cheat death.
Martin Blake explained the cryptic summons to his friend: he had become an emissary for the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, a body recently set up to deal with the flood of refugees and political enemies of the Third Reich who had fled to Prague after the occupation of the Sudetenland two months previously.
HITLER had convinced the British Premier Neville Chamberlain in September 1938 that his proposed annexation of the Sudetenland would be his 'last territorial claim' in Europe. But Nicholas Winton was one of those convinced that war was …
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Publication information: Article title: Britain's Own Schindler; the Extraordinary Story of the British Banker Who Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children from under Hitler's Nose as the Nazis Began Their Reign of Terror. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Daily Mail (London). Publication date: March 28, 1998. Page number: 34. © 2007 Daily Mail. COPYRIGHT 1998 Gale Group.
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