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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2006, 08:37 GMT
'British Schindler' remembers war
Sir Nicholas Winton
The 96-year-old smuggled 669 children out of Czechoslovakia
A man dubbed the "British Schindler" for his work saving Jewish children is to speak at a Holocaust memorial event.

Sir Nicholas Winton was 29 when he smuggled 669 boys and girls, destined for concentration camps, out of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

He kept quiet about his work for 50 years until his wife found a scrapbook.

The 96-year-old of Maidenhead, Berks, will be joined at the Reading Town Hall event on Wednesday by Vera Gissing, who was just 11 when he saved her.

Ms Gissing, also of Berkshire, is now an author, lecturer and literary translator.

Reunited with children

She has co-written a biography and film about Sir Nicholas, who began his mission before the outbreak of war when he was invited to help refugees in Czechoslovakia.

After realising the danger that the imminent Nazi invasion posed, he worked to find British families willing to put up 50 to rescue the children and look after them until they were 17.

Nicholas Winton with child
Sir Nicholas was just 29 at the time

His efforts have been likened to the work of the world famous "saviour" of Jewish prisoners Oskar Schindler.

Sir Nicholas and Ms Gissing will both speak at Wednesday's event to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday.

The evening, which is free to attend, is also being supported by the Reading Hebrew Congregation, Rwanda Genocide Survivors Group and Reading Refugee Support.

Sir Nicholas was knighted by the Queen in March 2003 and a year earlier was finally reunited with hundreds of the children he saved - including Labour peer Lord Dubbs and film director Karel Reisz - at a gathering for 5,000 descendants of the "Winton children".

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