JERUSALEM (JTA) – An orchard was dedicated in Prague in honor of a British man who saved hundreds of Czechoslovakian Jewish children from the Nazis.
Sir Nicholas Winton, who turned 100 on Tuesday, helped nearly 700 Jewish children escape from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939 while working in Prague as a British stock exchange clerk.
The 127 apple trees planted Tuesday on Petrin Hill, in an area being created to pay tribute to people who hid Jewish children during the Holocaust, are located near a spring named after Winton. Plans for the orchard, which will take four years to complete, include planting other varieties of fruit trees that will add up to the number of children Winton saved, according to the Czech News Agency. The orchard was started to mark Winton’s 100th birthday.
Winton organized transportation from Czechoslovakia to Britain and ensured that British families would accept the children; most of their parents died at the hands of the Nazis.
His heroics came to light in 1988, when his late wife discovered a scrapbook documenting the events.
Winton has not been named a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem because Israel’s Holocaust memorial has deemed that his actions, while worthy and honorable, did not meet the risk factor needed for that recognition.
His parents, who converted to Christianity, were Jewish.