(JTA) – Britain’s Royal Mail issued a commemorative stamp featuring Sir Nicholas Winton, known as the “British Schindler.”
The first class stamp, which was issued Tuesday, is part of a set of six commemorative stamps honoring some of the United Kingdom’s greatest humanitarians and their achievements, the BBC reported.
Winton, who helped rescue 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, died July 1, 2015, at the age of 106. An online petition calling for the stamp set up later that month by the Jewish News garnered nearly 106,000 signatures. The Royal Mail commissions 12 new stamps each year that must be approved by the Queen.
The other two first class stamps feature Sue Ryder, who founded homes for people in need, and Nobel Prize-winning scientist Lord Boyd Orr. The other three stamps feature Quaker philanthropist Joseph Rowntree; Eglantyne Jebb, founder of the organization that became Save the Children; and Josephine Butler, a Victorian-era campaigner for women’s rights and social reform.
Winton, the baptized son of Jewish parents, 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 is to the German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who is credited with saving some 1,200 Jews in the Holocaust. His story was made into an Academy Award-winning film, “Schindler’s List.”