Czechs to decorate Sir Winton with Order of White Lion


16.06.2014 15:12

Prague - The Czech government will propose to President Milos Zeman that he decorate Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of Jewish kids from the Holocaust, with the Order of the White Lion, Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats) told journalists today.


Britský zachránce stovek československých židovských dětí Nicholas Winton zdraví diváky po projekci nového filmu režiséra Mateje Mináče Nickyho rodina, která se uskutečnila 20. ledna v pražském Kongresovém centru. ČTK ČTK

Zeman said recently he would award Winton with the highest state decoration.

In May, the government discontinued its discussion on the proposal, submitted by Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), on the grounds that it first wanted to speak about it with the Presidential Office.

Zeman then said he would award Winton. Zeman and the government have also sent a letter of congratulations to Winton on his 105th birthday, which he marked on May 19.

The order is to be given to Winton on the Czech national holiday on October 28. However, due to his bad health condition, Winton will not take part in the ceremony.

Winton saved a total of 669 Jewish children who were sent to Britain before the war broke out. He had to secure departure permits for all children from Germans, entry permits from the British authorities and admission to British families.

These children would otherwise have been sent to 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. He only came to be 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.

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 President Vaclav Havel.

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