Joining the #Shape the Future Project
The History Department at The Bicester School has taken part in the#Shape the Future project being run by the Holocaust Educational Trust. The project asks people to make a pledge to ‘shape the future’ and act against intolerance, anti-Semitism and hatred.
The initiative has been launched to honour the memory of Sir Nicholas Winton who died on July 2015, aged 106. Politicians, teachers, students and people all over the UK have made pledges to ‘shape the future’, including the History team here at The Bicester School.
Sir Nicholas Winton, who was born in 1909, had been due to go on a skiing holiday in December 1938 but instead decided to go to Prague to assist a friend who was trying to help Jewish refugees. It was in Prague that Sir Nicholas had the idea of rescuing children by finding British families who could give them a home. He set up an office at a dining room table at his hotel in Prague before returning to London, where Sir Nicholas worked with aid organisations to set up the ‘Kindertransport’. Eight trains left Czechoslovakia in 1939, saving 669 children from the Holocaust.
Sir Nicholas never spoke about his efforts and it was not until his wife discovered a scrapbook containing information about the trains that the story became known. In 1988, the story of Sir Nicholas and the Kindertansport became more widely known when he appeared on ‘That’s Life!’ In the episode Sir Nicholas was sitting in the audience, unaware that he was surrounded by the now grown –up children he had saved. The clips can be seen on YouTube – here and here.
Sir Nicholas’s story serves as an inspiration. He was an ordinary man who saw injustice and did something extraordinary to help those suffering. When asked, Sir Nicholas said he lived by the idea that:’ If it’s not impossible, then there must be a way to do it’. Although Sir Nicholas Winton was given many accolades for his humanitarian work, including a stamp by Royal Mail in March 2016, he remained a humble and modest man all of his life.