Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 26 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Joachim and Anne
home iconNews
line break icon

What Happens When You See the Results of a Good Deed You’ve Done

John Burger - published on 06/28/14 - updated on 06/08/17

The moment Nicholas Winton realized he was surrounded by the children he had saved.

In December 1938, a young London stockbroker named Nicholas Winton was headed off to a ski vacation in Switzerland. A phone call at the last moment changed his destination–and the lives of thousands of people.

Winton heard about the plight of refugees in Czechoslovakia, where the Nazis had recently taken over the Sudetenland. He decided to go there rather than skiing, and ended up leading a small but effective evacuation by train of 669  children–mostly Jewish–to Britain and other countries.

By the time World War II started, in September 1939, the children were living with host families, thanks to Winton’s efforts. Most of their families and contemporaries who remained in Czechoslovakia would be killed in the war or in concentration camps.

Winton never boasted of his accomplishments, and it was only by chance that his wife discovered the list of the children in the attic of their home in England. Word got out, and in 1988, the BBC arranged to have Winton attend a TV broadcast. Unknown to him, they also invited a number of the children he had rescued. Here is a clip from that broadcast.

Queen Elizabeth knighted Winton in 2002. He’s come to be known as the “British Schindler.”

Recently, Sir Nicholas was feted in Czechoslovakia, accompanied by many of those he’d rescued, now known as “Nicky’s Children.” The reason for the party? Sir Nicholas was celebrating his 105th birthday.

World War II
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.