NICKY’S FAMILY (2013) — Documentary Review

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nicky's family poster artJust before the outbreak of World War II, an unassuming English businessman named Nicholas Winton traveled to Czechoslovakia and witnessed conditions that compelled him to organize the transport of 669 Czech and Slovak children — many of them Jewish — from their homeland to the safety of England. With careful planning and tremendous courage, he rescued them from suffering and death at the hands of Nazi invaders who eventually killed many of the children’s parents, siblings and extended family members.

A Due Tribute to an Inspiring Hero

After the war was over and during the ensuing years, Nicholas Winton never claimed any credit for his mission, nor did he even mention it. In fact, the entire affair might have been obscured in the haze of history had it not been for his wife’s discovery of a document-filled suitcase that had been stored in the attic. The documents detailed the transport plans. Once they were found — some 50 years after the fact — Winton’s extraordinary and nearly forgotten mission was out of the closet.

The story of Winton’s rescue mission is now known around the globe. He’s been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and honored by the U.S. House of Representative, the members of which recognized his contribution by passing H.R. 583.

As contemporary international relations indicate the increasing flow of humans seeking refuge from genocide and slavery, it’s time to look at Nicky Winton’s way of making the world a better — and hopefully safe — place for children and adults.

The Winton Effect

In Nicky’s Family, filmmakers Matej Minac and Patrik Pass use reenactment and impressive archival footage to tell the story of Winton’s amazing mission, and they’ve interviewed many of the children (now senior citizens) who were saved by Sir Nicholas, and with their descendants. They consider themselves to be Winton’s family, and those who’ve been found and counted number about 6,000 souls, in all. The film introduces many of them, and lets us know what they’ve achieved in their lifetimes, including important scientific discoveries and social progress that might never have happened had the children not been rescued.

The testimonials to Sir Nicholas are extremely moving. Many speak of creating ways to further Winton’s compassionate vision and his commitment to changing things for the good. Nicky’s family and thousands of other people who’ve heard of his story have been inspired by it. They are working on a wide variety of charity projects that aim to provide for the sick and undernourished children in African nations and in Cambodia.

The appreciation for Sir Nicholas Winton is universal, but it is the children of the Czech Republic who have organized to put his name forward for the Nobel Prize for Peace. To date, 120,000 children have signed a petition for Sir Nicholas Winton to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Sir Nicholas Winton died on July 1, 2015, at the age of 106. He was still active yet unassuming,

Nicky’s Family is a great story, and it’s very well told. This documentary tribute is pure inspiration. Whether you are familiar with the story of Sir Nicholas Winton or not, this is a must-see documentary.

If You Find Nicky’s Family informative and inspiring, you might like to watch additional films on my annotated Holocaust and World War II Documentaries List


Title: Nicky’s Family
Directors: Matej Minac and Patrik Pass
U.S. Theatrical Release Date: July 19, 2013
Running Time: 90 mins.
Location: Czech Republic, Slovakia, London and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, United States, Israel Germany, Cambodia
Language: English
Distribution Company: Menemsha Films

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