You wouldn’t be alone if you didn’t know the larger-than-life story of Sir Nicholas Winton, nicknamed the “British Schindler” for his rescue of 669 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia just before the outbreak of World War II. And that is the group for whom “Nicky’s Family” makes a good, if not great, introduction.
The documentary recounts, through interviews, reenactments, archival and stock footage, the story of Winton, who was a young British stockbroker in 1939 when he traveled to Czechoslovakia just before Hitler invaded. Sensing impending disaster and with little help, Winton engineered the children’s escape, arranging their paperwork and train transportation and finding new homes for them with families in Great Britain. Most of the youngsters did lose their biological parents in the Holocaust but are alive today to tell their stories. Winton, who turns 104 on May 19 (a CNN interview with him is scheduled to air on that date), is modest, thoughtful, and unassuming about his moral courage and its lasting legacy: Those he helped save, known as Winton’s “children,” include Canadian journalist Joe Schlesinger, who is interviewed extensively in the film.