British Holocaust savior honored by Czech Republic

By Vida

Sir Nicholas Winton, a man who displayed the same heroic feat as Oskar Schindler, was awarded Czech Republic's highest honor for rescuing Jewish children from the Holocaust. 

Last Tuesday, Winton arrived at the Prague Castle and presented himself before Czech President Milos Zeman. Winton then received the Order of the White Lion, the highest order of the Czech Republic. Winton received the award at the astonishing age of 105.

What could be a higher reward for Winton was the presence of the children he saved.

One survivor is Ruth Halova, now 86. Halova was more or less 11 years old at that time when she was carried in the Kindertransport and saved from the Holocaust. Halova was overcome with emotion and joy as she met the man who saved her.

Asaf Auerback was another life that Winton saved. Auerback was also present at the ceremony and remembers the moment he and his brother boarded the train Auerback was moved after he saw the man who made his life to continue possible. 

Under the Munich Agreement signed in 1938, the Nazis annexed parts of Czhechoslovakia.

On December of 1938, Winton arrived in Prague for a planned holiday in Switzerland. However, he opted to change his plans and attended to the refugee turmoil in Czechoslovakia. In the following months, Winton arranged for eight trains to transport children from Nazi- infiltrated Czechoslovakia to the safe grounds of the United Kingdom. The operation was knows as Kindertransports that saved more than 600 children, majority of them Jewish.

Winton played a vital role in securing the children's permits for the British government. He also secured families who would adopt and take care of the children.

Despite Winton's efforts, not all the children who boarded the Kindertransport survived. The last train was forced to return to Czechoslovakia when the war broke out, leaving more than 200 children victims of the Holocaust.

Every soul saved was still better than none at all.

Winton was delighted that the children he saved are going about with their lives, and some were present in the ceremony to express their gratitude.  

Winton's story is among the many others who reflects humanity's empathy in the darkest moments of our history.