Nicholas Winton’s LOTTERY OF LIFE by Matej Minac
No matter how much time has passed, we are always surprised AND delighted when one more ‘Holocaust Survivor’ comes forward with a personal story. Nicholas Winton’s Lottery of Life is the documentary on Sir Nicholas Winton, a British citizen who literally saved the lives of nearly 700 Czechoslovakian Jewish children from the clutches of Hitler’s Nazis.
The true story begins in 1938 when Winton was 29 years old, single, and working for the London Stock Exchange. He and a friend decided to vacation in Prague and stumbled across several refuge camps. He decided then and there to help rescue as many children as possible. Winton never sought recognition for his valiant achievement, and most of the children whom he rescued never even knew the name of the man who saved them.
It wasn’t until recently, when Matej Minac discovered some old documents buried in the archives of a library that the heroic actions of Winton were internationally recognized. Minac located Winton- now 90 years old- living outside London and this is his story.
Nicholas Winton’s Lottery of Life weaves together Minac’s story, Winton’s story, and interviews with several of the children survivors who, through Minac’s efforts, managed to meet with Winton for the first time. The book also includes many vintage photographs contributed from the survivors, as well as snapshots of their families today.
A section of the book is dedicated to details regarding the documentary film of this story plus additional films about Winton. And because the book is being used as a school text, there are several pages listing topics for classroom discussions and information about the Educational Project. For the casual or pleasure reader, the book may appear to be too much like an impersonal, segmented and categorized reference book. But Nicholas Winton’s Lottery of Life bears valuable information. The last of the Holocaust survivors are reaching old age and sadly, may not be around too much longer to tell their stories. Books like Nicholas Winton’s Lottery of Life keep the story of the Holocaust alive. They remind us that the horrors of World War II were real and give warning to those who put blind faith in government leaders. This book in particular, is a great example of how the caring generosity of just one person can make so much difference to so many people.
Rated 3 Stars September, 2016
All contents © 2016 Lois Weisberg. All rights reserved.