Stamp Honoring 'British Schindler' to Be Issued After 100,000 Sign Petition

Stamp commemorating Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, awaits final approval by the Queen.

Reuters, Peter Josek

A commemorative stamp for British humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton is to be issued after a Jewish community petition gained over 100,000 signatures.

Royal Mail announced on Monday it had fast-forwarded an application to honor Sir Winton, a former-stockbroker who rescued 669 children, most of them Jewish, from occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War.

The commemorative stamp now awaits approval from the Queen, although this is a largely ceremonial step, and is set to be issued for printing next year.

Sir Winton died last month, on the anniversary of the departure of a train which transported 241 Jewish children to safety on July 1. 

Following his death, U.K.-newspaper Jewish News organized a campaign calling on Royal Mail to issue a commemorative stamp honoring the former-stockbroker.

The e-petition to honor the “British Schindler” gained 105,000 signatures and won support from individuals including Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and former Communities Minister Eric Pickles.

Jewish News journalist Justin Cohen organized the campaign and told Ha’aretz: “Sir Nicholas shied away from the title 'hero' but we can think of few more deserving of this rare honor.”

“The Royal Mail stamp will serve as a lasting reminder of the inspirational actions of one man without whom thousands would not be alive today.”

Royal Mail commissions 12 new stamps each year and considers public suggestions in commemorating figures of national importance.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “One of the purposes of Royal Mail stamps is to honor those who have made important contributions to the U.K., and every year we consider hundreds of subjects for inclusion. It is clear that Sir Nicholas Winton is a worthy candidate.

“Now we have consulted with his family, we are delighted to confirm our intention to feature Sir Nicholas on a stamp as part of a commemorative set, subject to the appropriate approvals, in 2016."

Royal Mail reported it had spoken with Sir Winton’s family, who agreed to the commemorative stamp, and that further details concerning the stamp’s design will be released shortly.

Sir Winton went largely unrecognized for his work until the 1980s, when a scrapbook containing the names of Jewish refugees he had saved was shown on national television.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron led tributes to the 106-year-old following his death, saying: "The world has lost a great man. We must never forget Sir Nicholas Winton's humanity in saving so many children from the Holocaust."