I love stumbling across great generosity stories. Some of the best feature ordinary people who quietly do extraordinary things for others. So I enjoyed reading John O’Leary’s recent blog post: “How One Person Saved 669 Children.”
There he tells the story of Nicholas Winton. In 1938, Winton was a stockbroker in London. A friend, Martin Blake, called and asked him to come to Prague. As Europe was rushing towards war with Germany, a small group of men and women were working to safely evacuate from Czechoslovakia Jews and others whose lives would be in danger under the Nazis.
Winton and others hatched a plan to send Jewish children in Czechoslovakia to England. Winton aided the effort by raising resources, arranging for documentation and travel and recruiting host families in England. Before Nazi occupation made travel impossible, Winton helped to secure passage of seven trainloads of children to safety.
50 years later, in 1988, Winton’s wife came upon an old ledger with lists of names and addresses. She asked Nicholas about the ledger, and he told her the rescue story.
Winton’s story was ultimately shared with the BBC, and a live audience was gathered. The final question of the evening: Is anyone in the audience a child that Nicholas personally saved?
A woman stood. Followed by a man. Then another. And another, until a group of more than two dozen stood and applauded. The rest of the audience was composed of the children and grandchildren of those Winton had rescued.
O’Leary writes simply of the scene: “…while others turned their backs, felt indifference or were simply paralyzed with fear, Winton took accountability, accepted risks and rescued children. In all, he directly saved 669 lives through his bravery and selfless actions.”
Indeed, those who live a generous life will not be disappointed.
Photo by Daniil Smirnov on Unsplash
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Published June 25, 2021