'Don’t be content in your life just to do no wrong, be prepared every day to try and do some good' Sir Nicholas Winton
Nicholas Winton was born Nicholas George Wertheim on 19 May 1909 in Hampstead, London, England. His parents Rudolph and Barbara Wertheim, were German Jews who had moved to London two years before his birth. Their family name was Wertheim but they changed it to Winton, in an effort to integrate into their new country, as well as this they converted their religion to Christianity, and he was baptised.
In 1923 he entered the newly opened Stowe School , but left without any qualifications and then attended night school whilst also volunteering at the Midland Bank. He then went to Hamburg, where he worked at Behrens Bank, he followed this up by working at the Wasserman Bank in Berlin. Then in 1931 he started working at the Banque Nationale de Credit in Paris. Whilst he was in Paris he also earned a banking qualification.
After the outbreak of the Second World War, Winton applied successfully for registration as a conscientious objector and joined the Red Cross. In 1940, he then altered his beliefs and joined the Royal Air Force, Administrative and Special Duties Branch. He was an aircraftman, rising to sergeant by the time he was commissioned on 22 June 1944. He was then promoted to the rank of war substantive flying officer on 17 February 1945.
After the war, Winton worked for the International Refugee Organisation and then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Paris. Where he then met Grete Gjelstrup, a Danish secretary. They married in her hometown of Vejle on 31 October 1948. The couple then settled in Maidenhead, England, where they brought up their three children; Nick, Barbara and Robin, who was born with Down Syndrome.
The family insisted that Robin stay with them rather than be sent to a special residential home. Robin's death from meningitis, affected Winton greatly and he founded a local support organisation Maidenhead MENCAP. Winton then found work in the finance departments of various companies.
Nicholas Winton died peacefully in his sleep in the morning of the 1st of July 2015 at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough from cardio-respiratory failure, he had been admitted to the hospital a week earlier following a deterioration in his health. He was 106 years old.