A commemorative stamp featuring Sir Nicholas Winton, known as the “British Schindler,” will be issued by Britain’s Royal Mail.
A campaign for the move was launched late last month by British publication The Jewish News, and an online petition urging the stamp come to fruition had garnered nearly 106,000 signatures as of Tuesday.
“Now we have consulted with his family, we are delighted to confirm our intention to feature Sir Nicholas on a stamp as part of a commemorative set, subject to the appropriate approvals, in 2016,” the Royal Mail said announced yesterday.
“One of the purposes of Royal Mail stamps is to honour those who have made important contributions to the UK, and every year we consider hundreds of subjects for inclusion. It is clear that Sir Nicholas Winton is a worthy candidate.”
The campaign was backed by Britain’s Holocaust Education Trust, the Association of Jewish Refugees and Sir Mick Davis, who was chair of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Holocaust Commission.
Only 12 new stamps are commissioned by the Royal Mail each year and ultimate approval must be granted by Queen Elizabeth.
Winton died on July 1 at the age of 106. The baptized son of Jewish parents, Winton 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.”