感動人心的歷史︰尼古拉斯·溫頓的故事 Sir Nicholas Winton, Nicky’s Children, the Czech Kindertransport ◎Youtube+BBC+紐約時報中文網

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1909年5月19日-2015年7月1日:尼古拉斯·溫頓(SIR NICHOLAS GEORGE WINTON)

尼古拉斯·溫頓在第二次世界大戰前夕協助捷克斯洛伐克669名兒童(大多為猶太人)到英國居住,使他們得以避過後來的大屠殺,而他當時並非英國外交官、而只是倫敦證券交易所一個交易員。捷克總統在2014年授予溫頓捷克最高等的勳章白獅勳章。

Sir Nicholas George Winton, MBE, (born 19 May 1909) is a British humanitarian who organized the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport. Winton found homes for them and arranged for their safe passage to Britain. The UK press has dubbed him the “British Schindler”. he humbly kept his efforts a secret, until his wife found scrapbooks about the children in their attic. Winton was Knighted by the Queen of England, who said of Winton: “It’s wonderful that you were able to save so many children.”

「英國辛德勒」去世,曾營救669名猶太兒童

尼古拉斯·溫頓在二戰期間營救了數百名猶太兒童,圖中為他和其中一名獲救兒童合影。

Press Association, via Associated Press

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尼古拉斯·溫頓在二戰期間營救了數百名猶太兒童,圖中為他和其中一名獲救兒童合影。

尼古拉斯·溫頓(Nicholas Winton)周三於英國梅登黑德市去世,享年106歲。這位英國人曾經在二戰前組織營救行動,讓多數為猶太人的669名兒童逃離捷克斯洛伐克,此項義舉可與奧斯卡‧辛德勒(Oskar Schindler)與勞爾‧瓦倫堡(Raoul Wallenberg)所為並列,但長達半世紀以來,他對自己的善舉緘口不言。

梅登黑德扶輪社在網站上公布了他的死訊,他曾在該社任社長。梅登黑德位於倫敦以西,是溫頓先生生前生活的地方。

在他的妻子1998年從他們位於梅登黑德的家中閣樓里找到一本剪貼簿以前,他對自己幾乎被遺忘的義舉閉口不談。這本剪貼簿詳細記錄了一個如何從納粹的屠刀下救人性命的故事,上面記載着許多人名、照片與相關文件。那些註定被送進納粹集中營滅絕的父母將孩子交付於他,希望他解救這些孩子的性命。

溫頓在1938年是倫敦的一位股票經紀人,滿懷熱血的他在當年十二月取消了前往瑞士滑雪的假期,在朋友的請求下飛往布拉格。這位朋友正協助捷克斯洛伐克西部蘇台德地區的難民,從這個已被德國吞併的地區撤離。

「滑雪板就不必帶了,」這位名為馬丁‧布雷克(Martin Blake)的朋友在電話中建議他。

溫頓發現許多生活條件惡劣的難民營。戰爭看來無以避免,而在西方社會限制猶太人移民的情況下,逃難更是無望,兒童也無從逃脫。

然而英國是個例外。在1938年年底,該國發動一個名叫「兒童救援」(Kindertransport)的計劃,讓十七歲以下未能依親的猶太兒童,得以在尋得寄養家庭的情況下獲得英國政府的入境許可。

但當時的捷克斯洛伐克沒有類似的大規模救援行動。溫頓自己開創了一個。

這場行動包含了危險、賄賂、偽造文書、與蓋士太保秘會、九列火車、大量手續與金錢。納粹特工開始跟蹤他。在布拉格的旅館房間里,他與恐慌不已的家長見面,他們不顧一切要將孩子送往安全的地方,哪怕是交給異國他鄉的陌生人。

溫頓與少數志願者(包括他的母親)在報紙廣告、教堂與猶太會堂的公布欄上,刊登孩童的照片,並徵求募款與寄養家庭。

數百個家庭志願接收這些孩童,也漸漸有了捐款。雖然捐款不足以負擔所有支出,但溫頓用自己的錢填補了缺口。

一切在1939年3月14日就緒。在希特拉宣布將捷克的波希米亞省與摩拉維亞省納入德國「保護區」數小時以前,20名孩童搭乘火車離開布拉格。溫頓與他的夥伴安排了又安排了八列火車來救出所有孩童。他和寄養家庭在倫敦與孩童會面。每個難民兒童都帶着小袋子,並戴上名牌。

但剩下八列火車中,只有七列成功離開,總共帶着669名孩童逃離。有多達250名孩童,原本搭上了1939年9月1日的最後一班列車。但就在當天,希特拉入侵波蘭,德國控制地區的所有邊境都被關閉,溫頓的救援行動也無力回天。

「宣戰數小時後,那班列車就消失了。」他回憶道。「車上250個孩子,全都再也沒見到。」據信這些孩子都喪命於集中營。

本名尼古拉斯·喬治·韋特海姆(Nicholas George Wertheim)的溫頓生於1909年5月19日,是魯道夫·韋特海米爾·韋特海姆(Rudolf Wertheimer Wertheim)與妻子芭芭拉的三個孩子之一。他的父母是德國猶太人,但皈依了基督教並改姓溫頓。五十年來他未曾提過有關兒童救援的事情,甚至1948年結婚的丹麥妻子葛蕾特‧吉耶斯托普(Grete Gjelstruop)都未得隻字片語。他們育有三個孩子,分別是尼古拉斯、芭芭拉與羅賓。羅賓在1962年年僅七歲時夭折,溫頓的妻子則在1999年去世。梅登黑德扶輪社表示,溫頓去世時,有女兒芭芭拉與兩位孫子陪伴,但暫時無法對他身後留下哪些家人有完整的了解。

Holocaust ‘hero’ Sir Nicholas Winton dies aged 106

  • 1 July 2015
Media captionSir Nicholas Winton is credited with rescuing 669 Czech children from the Nazis

Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the rescue of 669 children destined for Nazi concentration camps, has died aged 106.

Sir Nicholas, then a stockbroker, arranged for trains to carry Jewish children out of occupied Prague.

The prime minister described him as a “great man” and the chief rabbi praised his “exceptional courage”.

He died on the anniversary of the departure of a train in 1939 carrying the largest number of children – 241.

His son-in-law Stephen Watson said he died peacefully in his sleep at Wexham Hospital, Slough.

Sir Nicholas brought the children to Britain, battling bureaucracy at both ends, saving them from almost certain death, and then kept quiet about his exploits for a half-century.

He organised a total of eight trains from Prague, with some other forms of transport also set up from Vienna.

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The Englishman who saved children from the Holocaust

Nicholas Winton
Image captionNicholas Winton photographed with one of the children he rescued in 1939
  • Sir Nicholas was born Nicholas Wertheimer in 1909 to Jewish parents
  • By 1938 he was a young stockbroker in London
  • He dropped everything to go to Prague to help Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi occupation
  • Sir Nicholas organised foster families for Jewish children in Britain, placing adverts in newspapers
  • The 669 children travelled on eight trains across four countries
  • Sir Nicholas’s team persuaded British custom officials to allow all the children in despite incomplete documentation

Discover how Nicholas Winton pulled-off such a dangerous escape plan

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The reluctant hero worked to find British families willing to put up £50 to look after the boys and girls in their homes.

Sir Nicholas was knighted by the Queen in March 2003. His work has been likened to that of the “saviour” of Jewish prisoners Oskar Schindler, however it was a comparison he was not particularly fond of.

The Rotary Club of Maidenhead, of which Sir Nicholas was former president, said his daughter Barbara and two grandchildren were at his side when he died.

As a six-year-old, former Labour MP, Lord Dubs, was one of the children who was put on a train out of Czechoslovakia

He paid an emotional tribute to his rescuer as “just one of those very special human beings”

“The real fact is that he was a man who saved my life and a lot of us who came on the Kindertransport owe him an enormous debt.

“His legacy is that when there is a need for you to do something for your fellow human beings, you have got to do it,” he said.

‘Moral courage’

His son Nick said of his father’s legacy: “It is about encouraging people to make a difference and not waiting for something to be done or waiting for someone else to do it.

“It’s what he tried to tell people in all his speeches and in the book written by my sister.”

Media caption‘British Schindler’ Winton was reunited with rescued children on That’s Life in 1988

Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Sir Nicholas, tweeting: “The world has lost a great man. We must never forget Sir Nicholas Winton’s humanity in saving so many children from the Holocaust.”

Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, said: “He was a hero of our time, having saved 669 Jewish children from the Nazi regime. His legacy, as a point of light in an era of darkness, will forever be remembered”.

Last year, Sir Nicholas was awarded the Order of The White Lion by Czech president Milos Zeman.

Michael Zantovsky, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United Kingdom, who was a close friend described him as “a positive man who radiated good”.

“It was incredibly moving to be present at some of the gatherings of him with his so-called children and the children of his children. They all owe their existence to him.”

‘Unfailing courtesy’

Former prime minister Gordon Brown described Sir Nicholas as “a real hero of our times”.

“Anyone who had the privilege of meeting him immediately felt admiration, respect and were in awe of his courage.

“That courage led him to risk his life to save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people. His inspiration will live on,” he said.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis praised Sir Nicholas’ “exceptional courage, selflessness and modesty”.

“He lived to see thousands of descendants of those whose lives he saved who were proud to call themselves members of his family, and who were inspired by his example to undertake outstanding charitable, humanitarian and educational initiatives,” he said.

“I knew him to be a gentleman of unfailing old-world courtesy, with a warm heart and a ready self-deprecating wit.”

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who was Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013, called Sir Nicholas a “giant of moral courage” and “one of the heroes of our time”.

“Our sages said that saving a life is like saving a universe. Sir Nicholas saved hundreds of universes,” he said.

The Refugee Council tweeted: “Very sad to hear the news of the passing of Sir Nicholas Winton. He was an amazing man who saved many lives.”

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