Sir Nicholas Winton, the ‘British Schindler,’ to appear on stamp

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Britain’s Royal Mail said it will issue a commemorative stamp featuring Sir Nicholas Winton, known as the “British Schindler.”

The decision was in response to a campaign launched late last month by the website British jewishnews.co.uk. As of Tuesday an on-line petition had garnered nearly 106,000 signatures calling for the stamp.

“Now we have consulted with his family, we are delighted to confirm our intention to feature Sir Nicholas on a stamp as part of a commemorative set, subject to the appropriate approvals, in 2016,” the Royal Mail said Monday in a response to the petition posted on the Change.org website.

“One of the purposes of Royal Mail stamps is to honour those who have made important contributions to the UK, and every year we consider hundreds of subjects for inclusion. It is clear that Sir Nicholas Winton is a worthy candidate,” the message concluded.

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The campaign was backed by the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Association of Jewish Refugees and Sir Mick Davis, who chaired David Cameron’s Holocaust Commission.

The Royal Mail commissions 12 new stamps each year. Final approval for the stamp must be given by the queen.

Winton died on July 1 at the age of 106.

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

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