published: 31.01.2014, 17:09 | updated: 31.01.2014 17:54:29
Prague - British Sir Nicholas Winton, 104, who saved hundreds of Czech Jewish children before WWII, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Czech lower house head Jan Hamacek, who followed up the initiative of his predecessor Miroslava Nemcova, Veronika Jacobs, from his office, said today.
Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) recalls in his nomination letter Winton´s heroic effort that saved the lives of 669 Jewish children from the occupied Czechoslovakia who were transported to Britain before the war broke out.
The letter also mentions the fact that Winton will turn 105 years in May, Jacobs said.
Nemcova (Civic Democrats, ODS), who headed the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, in 2010-13, regularly submitted Winton's nomination in the past three years.
Besides, students of the Open Gate grammar school near Prague organised a petition for Winton´s nomination, which some 236,000 people signed by mid-2013.
The previous caretaker government of Jiri Rusnok assigned the Education Ministry to prepare Winton´s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize at the end of last year.
Winton organised train transports of Jewish children from Czechoslovakia to Britain in 1939. He secured departure permits for them from Germans, entry permits from the British authorities and admission to British families. These children would otherwise have ended up in concentration camps with a tiny chance of surviving.
Further transports that he planned were prevented by the outbreak of World War Two in September 1939.
Winton himself never spoke about his heroic act. His story only surfaced when his wife Greta found an old briefcase with the lists of the children and letters from their parents in the attic.
He became known to the public after the BBC television had shot a documentary about him in 1988. During the shooting he suddenly appeared in the studio together with the people whose lives he had saved.
Slovak-born director Matej Minac has shot several films based on Winton's story: the feature film All My Loved Ones (1999), the Emmy-awarded documentary Power of Good: Nicholas Winton (2002) and most recently Nicky's Family (2011), a documentary with acted sequences.
Winton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.
In 1998, he received a high Czech state decoration, the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, from then Czech president Vaclav Havel.
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