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Because It Was Possible

C.S. Teitelbaum

Nicholas Winton was a stockbroker in London when the Nazis began their rampage across Europe. Would he be able to pull off the rescue of hundreds of children who faced certain death? When he marked his 105th birthday recently, he was witness to the answer: a retinue of guests who owe him their lives.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One hundred five candles flickered on the birthday cake presented to Sir Nicholas Winton at London’s Czech Embassy in May. That milestone would have been reason enough to interview the Jewish-born centenarian. But many of the hundred or so guests who came to celebrate Winton’s 105th birthday told another story: They were “Nicky’s kids” and they owe Winton their lives. The story of this unsung hero, who organized eight Kindertransports and saved close to 600 Jewish children from near-certain death, brought Mishpacha to his home in Maidenhead, England. In this quiet, leafy suburb outside London, on a breezy Sunday afternoon, Winton’s daughter Barbara Watson and I shared a park bench near Winton’s apartment. Barbara lives with her husband Stephen Watson, an astronomy teacher, in Herefordshire, but she comes down to Maidenhead most weekends to care for her elderly father. There seemed no better person to tell the story of “Nicky’s kids,” thanks to her recent decision to get her father’s rich legacy down on paper, even if just for her own sake. And so our conversation turns to the fascinating biography she has just published, If It’s Not Impossible (Matador Publishing).

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