Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins will portray Sir Nicholas Winton, known as the “British Schindler,” in a film about the latter’s efforts that saved 669 Jewish children from the Nazis during World War II.
Hopkins will star in “One Life,” which tells the story of Winton and the children from Prague who were among some 10,000 mostly Jewish children who made it to Britain on what was known as the Kindertransports (children’s transports). Few of them would see their parents again.
The baptized son of Jewish parents, Winton was a 29-year-old stockbroker when he arrived in Prague in December 1938. He was planning to go on a skiing holiday in Switzerland but changed his plans when he heard about the refugee crisis in Czechoslovakia, which had just been occupied by the Nazis. Over the following nine months, he organized eight trains that carried hundreds of children, the vast majority of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia to safety in Britain.
Winton’s work was little known until the 1980s, when his wife found evidence of the rescues. The discovery led to a reunion with some of the children on television — a scene included in the upcoming movie — and a documentary.
“It wasn’t until he was surprised by the survivors on live television that he accepted how, when faced with devastating atrocities, saving even one life is a victory,” production company See-Saw was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Winton received many honors in his later years, including a knighthood.
He died in 2015 at the age of 106.
Images were recently released from the film, including of Hopkins as Winton, Johnny Flynn as a younger version of him and Helena Bonham-Carter as his mother Babi.
The film is an adaptation of “It’s Not Impossible… The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton,” a biography of Winton by his daughter.