Youth campaign for Nobel Prize to go to British Schindler

By Jennifer Lipman, March 11, 2013
Sir Nicholas Winton in Prague (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Sir Nicholas Winton in Prague (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Campaigners are urging the Nobel Prize Committee to bestow its most important award on a British hero of the Holocaust who saved hundreds of children from almost certain death.

A petition to honour Sir Nicholas Winton , now aged 103, with the Nobel Peace Prize was launched earlier this year by pupils at a school in Prague, and has already attracted more than 173,000 signatures.

The schoolchildren have already passed the first hurdle in the process, and registered their nomination of Sir Nicholas – who is widely referred to as the British Schindler - with the Nobel Foundation nominated.

In a statement, pupils at Open Gate Grammar School in Prague expressed hope that not only would their petition attract "as many signatures as possible", but that the campaign would "spread information about the brave Sir Nicholas to a worldwide public".

"We would also like the term 'The Winton List' to gain the same value as 'The Schindler List'," they said.

Now living in Maidenhead, Sir Nicholas was a young stockbroker of Jewish extraction when he visited a refugee camp in 1938, three months after Adolf Hitler annexed the border region of Sudetenland.

The experience moved him to organise the eight trains that made up the Czech Kindertransport and carried 669 children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia to safety as war broke out.

"Despite the reluctance of the government in his homeland, Winton on his own organised train transportations into Great Britain, giving the children new hope and a new home," said the campaigners. "By this act, he contributed to [Alfred Nobel's] idea of 'the fraternity of nations'."

Last updated: 4:37pm, March 11 2013