A 105 year old British man known as the “British Schindler” was this week presented with the ‘Order of the White Lion,’ the highest honour awarded by the Czech Republic, for saving 669 children during the Holocaust.
Sir Nicholas Winton, whose wartime exploits were famously brought to national attention by Esther Rantzen in a 1980s episode of Hearts of Gold, was 29 years old when he launched his one-man rescue mission.
After the Nazi occupation of the Sudetenland in1938, he decided to help children get British permits in the same way children from other countries had been rescued by ‘kindertransports’.
The retired stockbroker is one of the very few foreigners who have ever been awarded the accolade, a reflection of the esteem he is held in by the Czech people.
The Czech defence ministry sent a special plane to pick him up and take him to Prague, where Winton met some of those he helped save and where he attended the awards ceremony with President Milos at Prague Castle.
“I knew better than most, and certainly better than the politicians, what was going on in Germany,” he told the BBC. “It was happening all over Europe.”