'British Schindler' reunited with WWII evacuees
Nicholas Winton, now aged 100 and knighted as Sir Nicholas, organised trains which brought some 669 children out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia between March and September 1939.
London -- A former stockbroker hailed as the "British Schindler" enjoyed an emotional reunion Friday with mostly Jewish former evacuees whom he helped flee from the Nazis as children 70 years ago.
Nicholas Winton, now aged 100 and knighted as Sir Nicholas, organised trains which brought some 669 children out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia between March and September 1939. His actions are considered to have saved them from the concentration camps.
Twenty-two of those evacuees this week made the journey again from Prague -- now the capital of European Union member state the Czech Republic -- via their original route through Germany and the Netherlands, to mark the milestone.
"This is much harder work than it was 70 years ago," Winton told several hundred evacuees, relatives and well-wishers gathered as the steam-powered Winton Train arrived at London's Liverpool Street station.
"Seventy years ago it was a question of getting a lot of little children together with the families that were going to look after them... it's wonderful that it did work out so well because, after all, history could have made it very different," he added.
Vera Gissing arrived in London just before her 11th birthday.
"I'll never forget it. I arrived with my sister... It was scary and remained scary for quite some time, but of course it was a big step in our life," she said.
Hailing Winton -- likened to German businessman Oskar Schindler, whose rescue inspired a novel and the multiple Oscar-winning film "Schindler's List" -- she said: "He saved so many lives.
"It's amazing today to be meeting all the friends and realising how lucky we were."
Winton told the evacuees: "It's wonderful to see you all after 70 years. Don't leave it quite so long until we meet here again. Anyway, I am glad you are all here and it's wonderful for me to meet so many of you."