In December 1938 London stockbroker Nicholas Winton was planning his skiing holiday in Switzerland.
He decided, however, to visit his friend Martin Blake in Prague first. He saw first-hand the plight of Jewish families facing Nazi persecution. Instead of going skiing he ended up helping them.
Winton found homes in Britain for 669 children, many of whose parents perished in Auschwitz. Eight trains reached London. The ninth did not. It was due to leave on September 1, carrying 250 children – the largest number yet. That day Germany invaded Poland, and all borders were closed.
After the war he kept quiet about his exploits. The truth came out in 1988 when his wife Grete found a scrapbook in their attic. It contained lists of children’s names. He then explained what he had done 50 years previously.
An estimated 6,000 people across the world are descendants of ‘Nicky’s Children’.
He was knighted by the Queen in 2003.
His daughter, Barbara, said “What he did in 1939 wasn’t out of character. It was typical of the kind of impulses he has when he sees a situation and thinks it should be rectified.”
Nicholas Winton was a game-changer. He didn’t have plans to change 669, and ultimately 6,000, people’s lives; he was just prepared to act. He just did the right thing on one day. It wasn’t out of character. The transformative outcomes just followed.
Look to be transformative. Explore ways in which you can be a game-changer in your situation.
Watch the moment Nicholas Winton met some of the survivors he saved on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_nFuJAF5F0
“Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe
This short article is from Leaders’ Journal, which launches on Amazon on September 25th on Amazon