Nicky’s Family, a new film by Slovak director Matej Mináč, tells the story of a 20th-century hero you probably don’t know, but should: A British stockbroker named Nicholas Winton who rescued nearly 700 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Sudetenland.
Through means ranging from straightforward to ingenious (including romancing a suspected Nazi agent), Winton, who was stirred by an encounter with Czech refugees in 1938, found foster homes for Czech Jewish children in England, the only country willing to accept them.
But Winton’s story was unknown even to his own family until 1988, when his wife found a scrapbook full of names and photos of the children he’d saved. She helped arrange a moving reunion on the popular BBC television show “That’s Life,” in which an unsuspecting Winton was introduced to some of the grateful (now adult) children.
Nicky’s Family uses interviews, reenactments, and documentary footage to tell Winton’s story, and is narrated by Canadian TV journalist (and rescued child) Joe Schlesinger. Descendants of the rescued children number an estimated 5,700. One of his fans calls Sir Nicholas, who was knighted in 2002, the “head of the biggest family in the world.”