He saved the lives of more than 600 children. He didn't speak about it for 50 years. His name was Sir Nicholas Winton. In December 1938, World War II was imminent. Kristallnacht, or the "Night of Broken Glass," had just ravaged Nazi Germany in November 1938. Some Jews were murdered, others arrested and taken to concentration camps, while Jewish-owned businesses and buildings were destroyed.
Nicholas Winton, a British citizen, skipped a skiing trip to Switzerland and flew to Prague to help his friend who was aiding refugees in the western region of Czechoslovakia.
Escape for the refugees seemed nearly impossible due to immigration restrictions for Jewish people, but according to the New York Times, Britain was an exception. "In late 1938, [Britain] began a program, called Kindertransport, to admit unaccompanied Jewish children up to age 17 if they had a host family, with the offer of a 50-pound warranty for an eventual return ticket. The Refugee Children's Movement in Britain sent representatives to Germany and Austria, and 10,000 Jewish children were saved before the war began."
However, there was no rescue effort on this scale in Czechoslovakia. So, Nicholas Winton created one. Despite unthinkable circumstances and at great risk, Winton managed to arrange eight trains to transport children to safety in London. Seven trains made it, while the 250 children on the last train, which boarded September 1, 1939 — the day Hitler invaded Poland — did not make it across the borders after they were closed. The other seven trains, carrying 669 children, brought the refugees to the UK. Many became orphans, their parents lost in concentration camps.
Winton, who passed away in July 2015 at age 106, kept the rescue a secret, and it wasn't until his wife found a scrapbook in their attic in 1988 — 50 years later — that she discovered the incredible thing he'd done. The book was "crammed with names, pictures, letters from families, travel documents and notes crediting his colleagues," New York Times reported. She took the story to a Holocaust researcher, and the children he rescued (now adults) were contacted. In the video, watch as Winton on BBC show "That's Life!" in 1988, discovers he is in a room surrounded by those who wouldn't be there if it weren't for his bravery. He was later knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003. The moment will give you chills — and remind you of the huge effect one person's goodness and kindness can truly have.