I remember feeling mesmerised and awed when I saw the Steven Spielberg directed 1993 film Schindler’s List. What courage! What gumption! How many people could do what Oskar Schindler did to save so many Jews amidst the terror and horrors of World War II and the Holocaust? That was the persistent thought in my mind as I watched the film. I also wondered if I could ever be as courageous if faced with a similar situation?
I was overcome with much the same feeling when I first read about Nicholas Winton’s rescue of 669 Jew children from Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II. This time around, however, the feeling was much more intense. Because here was a great soul who never spoke one word about his heroic deed till his wife discovered a journal with names and pictures in their attic in 1988.
How many people do you know who do good for goodness sake and nothing else? More important, how many people do you know who can truly claim to have never spoken of their good deeds?
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know of a single such person till I read about Nicholas Winton. And when I did, I told myself, “here’s a great human being if ever there was one”.
Today, as I sit writing this post, I can’t help feeling that with Nicholas Winton’s passing, the world just lost a great soul.
And that, even though the Internet must be surely flooded with epitaphs and obituaries honouring this great man, his story can’t be told enough.
Because this is a story that hopefully will help inspire many a soul trying to find courage to do the right thing in a troubled world.
You can watch Nicholas Winton’s story on the 60 Minutes: Sir Nicholas Winton “Saving the Children” YouTube video (below) or read an article in The New York Times by Robert D. McFadden titled Nicholas Winton, Rescuer of 669 Children from Holocaust, Dies at 106.
Rest in Peace, Nicholas Winton. When we reflect upon what you achieved, these words from Ode: Intimations of Immortality by William Wordsworth ring out:
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
Featured Cover Image Credit: Stone inscribed with Ode, Intimations of Immortality by William Wordsworth. Image taken in December 2012 in Ooty Rose Garden by Lata Subramanian
*Robert D. McFadden. Nicholas Winton, Rescuer of 669 Children From Holocaust, Dies at 106. July 1, 2015. The New York Times.