The Biography of Sir Nicholas Winton (Played by Anthony Hopkins) is a Must Know Story

I learned about Sir Nicholas George Winton from a YouTube video I watched few years ago. He was an amazing human being who did immensely important work to preserve life while risking his own life against the genocide of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. The more I learned about the gentleman, more impressed I became. He is a man who deserves to have his story made famous.

While browsing today, I came across this trailer that I clicked mainly because of Sir Anthony Hopkins. He is easily one of my favorite actors and one of the greatest actors alive on Earth. When the trailer began, I was wondering if it had anything to do with Warren Buffet. Few seconds later I was very pleasantly surprised and knew exactly what the story was going to be.

Allow me to copy a comment left by "angelaburrow8114" to summarize why Sir Nicholas Winton's story is one that is worth making a movie about.

I remember that episode of That's Life, back in the1988. I remember crying when everyone around him stood up to show they'd been on the kindertransport he'd arranged. 

It was an incredible thing he did, & he hid it for almost 50 years, not even telling his family what he'd achieved. He was such a humble man. He saved 669 children, on 8 trains. It would have been more but the last train was scheduled to leave on 1 September 1939 & Germany invaded Poland on that day.  Of the 250 kids on the last, cancelled train, only 2 survived the war, the Nazis killed the rest. Winton beat himself up every day for that failure.

When you look at the later careers of those he saved, some did incredible work benefitting humanity, such as Renata Laxova (paediatric geneticist, discoverer of Neu-Laxová syndrome,  who was only 7-8 when she took part in the kindertransport, & fled Czechoslovakia for the 2nd time in 1968 when the USSR invaded, & again escaped to the UK), Leslie Baruch Brent(immunologist & co-discoverer of acquired immunological tolerance) & Joe Schlesinger (award-winning journalist & author).

Winton was initially a conscientious objector at the start of WW2, instead volunteering for the Red Cross. A year later, he joined the RAF as an aircraft man but rose through the ranks. After the war, he worked for the International Refugee Organization & later the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Even in his family life he was an exceptional man. The youngest of his 3 children, Robert, had Down Syndrome. At the time, kids with DS were put in children's homes & basically abandoned by their families who assumed the residential home would be better for them than continuing in the family home. We now know this is not true, but at the time it was considered best practice. Winton & his wife questioned this, arguing that their son would have a better life with his siblings & parents, so they kept Robert with them. They were devastated when he caught meningitis & died when he was 6. Winton's response was to found a local branch of a UK charity for people with learning disabilities, Mencap.

He received a number of awards throughout his life, especially when his work with the kindertransport became public knowledge. In chronological order:

1983 - he was made MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for setting up a group of homes for the elderly;

1998 - he was awarded the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Fourth Class, by the Czech President Václav Havel;

2003 - he was knighted (Knight Bachelor) for services to humanity in the UK for his work with the kindertransport;

2003 - he received the Pride of Britain Award for Lifetime Achievement;

2008 - the Czech government named a school in Kunžak  after him & he was awarded the Cross Merit of the Minister of Defence, Grade 1. They also nominated him for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.  Czech astronomers Jana Tichá & Miloš Tichý named a minor planet after him, 19384 Winton;

2009 - a statue of him was unveiled on Platform 1 of the Praha hlavní nádraží railway station, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the last Kindertransport train;

 2010 - he was named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the British Government;

2010 - a statue of Winton sitting reading a book was unveiled at Maidenhead railway station (the town he lived in). There were already memorials of him at London's Liverpool Street Station, where the kindertransport children had arrived in the UK;

2013 - he received the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan (named after Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who had studied architecture in Michigan, & rescued tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest during the closing months of WW2, before disappearing in 1945 after being detained by agents of the secret service of the USSR on suspicion of espionage. In 1947, Soviet authorities reported Wallenberg had died of a suspected myocardial infarction  on 17 July 1947 while imprisoned in the Lubyanka prison);

2014 - the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation set up a literary competition in Winton's name. The contest is for essays by high school students about Winton's legacy;

2014 - he was awarded the Order of the White Lion (Class I) by Czech President Miloš Zeman. The Czech Defence Ministry sent a special plane to fly him to Prague. He also met some of the children he'd rescued. He was 105 years old, with the children themselves being in their 80s;

2015 - Winton was awarded the Freedom of the City of London;

2019 - his old school, Stowe, opened a new boys' day house, named Winton.

Winton was not a religious man, he'd lost at his religion during WW2, saying he couldn't reconcile religious people "praying for victory on both sides of the same war". He also said "I believe in ethics, & if everybody believed in ethics we'd have no problems at all. That's the only way out; forget the religious side."

Winton died peacefully in his sleep, aged 106, with his family around him, on the 76th anniversary of one of his train's departures. His motto in life was not to wait for others to do something but be the one to make the difference personally. Strong words from an honourable, decent man who certainly made a difference.

Trailer Ends Before This Moment

I'm happy the trailer decided to not reveal one of the most important and impact scenes. We have had too many movie trailers that spoil too much. This is another excerpt of the small media coverage he has received:

Sir Nicholas Winton is Not A "British Schindler"

These who are very different human beings. I don't think One Life (2023) will be as good as Schindler's List (1993). Steven Spielberg is one of the best living directors and the first feature film of a television director is not likely to be of the same quality (or have the production budget). The life of Oskar Schindler was vastly different from Sir Nicholas Winton. They both saved people during WWII and they both deserve respect and recognition. But they are not the same.

Imagine The Future If There Were More Nicholas Wintons in The World

The next Einstein could be in North Korea or some war torn part of Middle East or Africa. War is an act that has far too much of an impact on the future of humanity that most people believe. Even most anti war activist are unaware of the extent of unseen damage war can cause. Imagine how many people were helped by the children Sir Nicholas Winton saved and the butterfly effect (or at least the domino effect) it caused.

The movie was released on 2023 Toronto International Film Festival and it will open for general audiences on January 1st, 2024 in UK. You don't have to watch the movie. It may have even taken creative liberties. At the very least, I want people to know about what Sir Nicholas Winton. I think I have accomplished that by writing this article. Please consider reblogging or at least share one of the videos among your friends. The world needs more positivity and heroism.

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