(Born Nicholas George Wertheim; 19 May 1909 – 1 July 2015)
A British humanitarian who organised the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War.
Nicholas found homes for the children and arranged for their safe passage to Britain. The world found out about his work over 40 years later, in 1988.
The British press dubbed him the “British Schindler” and quite rightly so. In 1988 his wife found a detailed scrapbook in their attic containing lists of the children, including their parents’ names and the names and addresses of the families that took them in.
80 of “Nicholas’s children” were found in Britain. The wider world found out about his work in February 1988 during an episode of the BBC television programme ‘That’s Life’
He was invited as a member of the audience, at one point, Nicholas’s scrapbook was shown and his achievements were explained.
The host of the programme, Esther Rantzen, asked whether anybody in the audience owed their lives to Nicholas? and if so, to stand. More than two dozen people surrounding Nicholas stood and applauded.
I recently watched a documentary about the “Holocaust” in which they told his story towards the end, it moved me to tears.
It made me cry not only because of atrocities that took place back then, but because sadly there have been no lesson’s learnt from the evil that took place.
Sadly, Nicholas died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of 1 July 2015 at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough from Cardio-Respiratory Failure. Having been admitted a week earlier following a deterioration in his health. He was 106 years old.
May he rest in peace. 🙏