Winton with one of the 669
What were at the time called the Czech Kindertransport took those children to the safety of Britain in eight special trains, travelling from Prague to the Hook of Holland before being ferried across to Harwich. A ninth train, scheduled to leave Prague on 1 September 1939, did not reach safety; almost all the children on board later died in concentration camps. Seventy years later to the day, that journey was re-enacted.
The ninth Winton Train arrives at Liverpool Street
It would be unheard of today for anyone migrating to the UK to feel that they needed to convert to the majority religion in order to become more acceptable. But anti-Semitism was all too prevalent at the time, and for many years after Winton’s parents arrived: one only has to look at the fawning attitude of papers like the Daily Mail to the behaviour of the Nazis, even before the events of Kristallnacht.
A modest election address
In 1954, he stood unsuccessfully for his local council in Maidenhead; then as now this was very solidly Conservative territory. To give an idea of why Winton might not have been elected, the town’s current MP, Theresa May, was returned at the last General Election with almost 66% of the popular vote. Her majority over the Labour runner-up was more than 29,000. And Winton’s election address was typically modest.