Royal Mail honors ‘British Schindler’ with commemorative stamp

By JTA
December 31, 2015 06:06
1 minute read.

 
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Britain’s Royal Mail announced it will issue a commemorative stamp featuring Sir Nicholas Winton, known as the “British Schindler,” in March.

It will be part of a set of six stamps honoring British humanitarians, the Jewish News website reported.

Winton, who helped rescue 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, died July 1 at 106. An online petition calling for the stamp set up later that month by the Jewish News garnered nearly 106,000 signatures.

Hundreds of recommendations for new stamps are received each year, with the process usually taking around two years, according to the Jewish News, which said it was expedited in Winton’s case due to the intense public interest. The Royal Mail commissions 12 new stamps each year. Final approval for the stamp must be given by the queen.

The baptized son of Jewish parents, Winton was a 29-year-old stockbroker when he arrived in Prague in December 1938. He was planning to go on a skiing holiday in Switzerland, but changed his plans when he heard about the refugee crisis in Czechoslovakia, which had just been occupied by the Nazis. In the following nine months, he organized eight trains that carried children, the vast majority of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia to safety in Britain.

Winton’s heroism was unremarked until the 1980s, when his wife found evidence of the rescues. The discovery led to a reunion with some of the children and a documentary. Winton received many honors in his later years, including the knighthood. Last year, the Czech government flew him to Prague in a military plane to receive the country’s highest honor.

The “Schindler” reference is to the German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who is credited with saving some 1,200 Jews in the Holocaust. His story was made into an Academy Award-winning film, “Schindler’s List.”

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