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Bethesda woman among those rescued by 'British Schindler' | News

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Bethesda woman among those rescued by 'British Schindler'

BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) -- A Bethesda woman is among the more than 600 children rescued during WWII by Nicholas Winton, who is best known as the "British Schindler".

In 1939, Alice Masters was a teenager living in a small then-Czechoslovakian town with her parents and two sisters.

"In the winter we skated and skied. We had a wonderful childhood. It was a village life, and I loved everything about it," Masters said.

But Hitler's army was steadily making its way into Europe. In Germany, his men had already carried out deadly attacks on Jewish homes and businesses –Masters' family was Jewish. Her parents were worried, but one of Masters' uncles, who was living in London, told them about a man named Nicholas Winton, who had something to do with getting children from Prague to London.

"He wrote to my parents and told them, that I think they should try to get out but if they can't all get out at least they should send the children," Masters said.

That's what they did. Her family traveled from their small town to Prague and on July 1, 1939 Alice Masters and her two sisters were sent away.

Her mother made her dresses for the trip in different sizes, in case her girls grew while they were away.

Fifty years after the war ended, Masters learned who Winton was

"It was very emotional, and a big shock to tell you the truth," Masters said.

Winton – a British stockbrocker, just shy of his 30th birthday, organized the transport that saved Masters and her sisters. He organized seven other transports, saving 669 Czechoslovakian children from the Nazis. According to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Winton initially planned these without any approval from the British government. He gathered names of children in Prague– then he went back to London to get the documents and money to bring those children to Britain. But he didn't really tell anyone about it and most of the public didn't know his name until he appeared on the BBC program 1988.

Now one of the people he saved -- lives in Bethesda and has 7 grandchildren…

"It's amazing. All these people wouldn't be here, if it weren't for Nicky Winton, there are just no words," Masters said.

Winton, who passed away Wednesday, was supposed to go on a ski trip that summer, instead a friend convinced him to go to Prague – and that's when he started collect names of children who needed to flee.

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