One Life, The True Story of Sir Nicholas Winton
By Barbara Winton
Robinson, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group, 2024
A classic television moment occurred in 1988 during a recording of Esther Rantzen’s ‘That’s Life’ TV programme. The producers had invited Nicholas Winton, a retired stockbroker, to join the live audience and had seated him on the front row.
When the programme began, Esther Rantzen outlined how Nicholas had rescued 669 Jewish children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia on the brink of World War 2. Then she asked if anyone in the audience owed their life to Nicholas Winton.
I can still see the look of amazement and the tears that flowed
To Winton’s astonishment, almost the entire audience rose to their feet. I can still see the look of amazement and the tears that flowed, as he turned round and saw all the people standing – people he had never met since he had masterminded a seemingly impossible plan to rescue them as children in 1939. I don’t want to spoil the story for you, but the book tells his story of how a friend told him of the horrors in Prague after the Nazi annexation in October 1938. Winton, whose parents were in fact German Jewish emigres to Britain called Wertheim, cancelled a skiing holiday to go and see for himself what was happening.
For nine months he did what he could and got 669 children out. Amazingly, he never told anyone the story until it became public in 1988.
He had masterminded a seemingly impossible plan to rescue them as children
Winton was knighted in 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II for “services to humanity, in saving Jewish children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia”. Sir Nicholas died in 2015 at the age of 106, 76 years to the day after 241 of the children he saved left Prague by train.
His daughter, Barbara Winton, has written her father’s story. It has been made into a film, also called ‘One Life’, with Sir Anthony Hopkins playing Sir Nicholas, which premiered in cinemas in January.
I am looking forward to seeing the film but am equally loving reading his story. The book covers so much more of his life than it is possible for the film to show.
Winton statue defaced by pro-Palestinians
A memorial to Sir Nicholas Winton’s work with the Kindertransport was defaced with graffiti during pro-Palestinian protests on New Year’s Eve in Berlin.
CUFI (Christians United for Israel) reports that the bronze sculpture shows at least two depictions of what appears to be the Islamic Dome of the Rock, which is situated on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.The “Trains to Life – Trains to Death” memorial by architect and sculptor Frank Meisler, stands outside Berlin’s Friedrichstraße station.
It depicts two sets of children, one representing the 10,000 children saved on the Kindertransport trains to safety, and the other representing the 1.6 million mostly Jewish children who were transported by train to the Nazi death camps.
The German authorities had banned pro-Palestinian protests during the Christmas and New Year holiday period for security reasons, and hundreds of unruly protesters who attacked security forces were arrested.
Walter Bingham, who survived the Holocaust thanks to the Kindertransport, and celebrated his 100th birthday that week, said, “It’s a terrible thing to happen but unfortunately not surprising. I am sure the culprits are ignorant of its true meaning or history. I hope the police will manage to catch them.”
The raw power of the Holy Spirit in the Lewis Revival
Island Aflame: The Famed Lewis Awakening that Never Occurred and the Glorious Revival that Did (Lewis & Harris 1949–52)
By Tom Lennie
Christian Focus, 2023
How Tom Lennie manages to find time to write the books he does and be the Executive Editor of Prophecy Today UK, at the same time is beyond me. And his latest excites me; it is scholarly, factual, well written and about a subject that should be on the heart of all believers – hearing the stories of a move of God in revival times.
R T Kendall, in his foreword, says: “We are reminded again and again of the raw power of the Holy Spirit and the supreme knowledge that he – like Jesus – is ‘the same yesterday, today and tomorrow’.”
Tom Lennie has already written about several of Scotland’s amazing revivals in previous books; I have his ‘Glory in the Glen’, which documents Scottish revivals from 1880–1940.
By far the best known of the revivals Scotland has experienced is the Lewis Revival of 1949–52 (also known as the Hebrides revival). The stories around it are extraordinary, with the Holy Spirit working in the lives of many people across this Scottish island.
Take the (simple) story of Finlay Maclean. “Finlay was a heavy drinker”, Tom Lennie writes, “but his life was transformed, and he went on to be an elder in Leverburgh Church of Scotland” (page 203).
It is scholarly, factual, well written and about a subject that should be on the heart of all believers
As a good investigator, Tom Lennie has researched the revival, met some of those still alive, checked the accounts of those who have died, and accurately tells amazing stories of what God did in people’s lives, and continued to do when the revival ceased. What is so encouraging is the way God used ordinary, humble people. No person was deemed too ‘ordinary’ for the work of God.
Now to the provocative sub-title at the top of this review: ‘The Famed Lewis Awakening that Never Occurred and the Glorious Revival that Did (Lewis & Harris 1949–52).
Sadly, over the years, even with Christian history, there has been a tendency to romanticise and exaggerate events. That is true with the Lewis revival.
Tom shows how many of the stories associated with the revival just did not happen – even stories as famous as the two praying sisters initiating the revival, the lack of young people in the churches, the seven praying men in a barn twice a week.
The fact they didn’t happen does not detract from the revival, because the revival did happen! It is just that we need to know the truth.
Even someone such as Duncan Campbell, who was the catalyst that God used in the revival, was prone in later life to share stories for there is no evidence that they ever occurred. Tom Lennie is good at cutting through the exaggeration to show the revival as it really happened.
He has done a great amount of research on Duncan Campbell, enquiring of eye-witnesses, family members and biographers; he notes a meeting he had with Duncan Campbell’s daughter Sheena, where she said of her father, “his deep humility was his most salient characteristic.” Campbell truly was a man who loved the Lord Jesus.
I started by saying this is a book that excited me. As I turned the final page, I still felt that way, and I believe you will too, if you read it.
Throughout the book we read of the presence of God, the power of prayer, the preached Word, the unbelievers’ response to God, and the fellowship in the meetings. Everything points you back to seeking more of God.
My longing is that the story of the Lewis Revival will stir your heart, build your faith, and inspire you to ask God to use even you for his glory.
The book to help you explain the Middle East conflict
What’s next? Israel-Gaza war Connecting Today’s Headlines to Tomorrow’s Prophetic Events
By Jimmy Evans and Mark Hitchcock
Tipping Point Press
As a nation, we are being plied with other people’s views on events in the Middle East and what is the supposed right course of action that governments and the United Nations should be taking.
But what if the right course of action is not man’s ideas but God’s plans and purposes?
After an internet search, I was so glad to find ‘What’s Next? Israel-Gaza War with its helpful sub-title, ‘Connecting Today’s Headlines to Tomorrow’s Prophetic Events’.
At just 88 pages, I read it in a couple of evenings and I recommend doing so.
The authors were new to me. Jimmy Evans is an American pastor and Bible teacher, who has written more than 50 books concerning end-time prophecies.
Mark Hitchcock is a Research Professor of Bible Exposition, as well as senior pastor of a church in Edmund, Oklahoma. Taking as their basis the premise that God assures blessing for those who bless Israel, they look at the implications of the current conflict in Gaza, Israel, Egypt, and Lebanon as it might affect Israel’s future and biblical prophecy.
Their clear statement is: “God chose Israel and gave the Jews the land. Though displaced at times, their ownership remains. Palestinians have no biblical claims to the land through political argument.”
The chapter headlines give an idea of the subjects covered: ‘What Role does Gaza play?’; ‘Attack on Israel!’; ‘A Timeline for Israel and Palestine’; ‘God’s Eternal Covenant with Israel’; ‘Where do we go from here?’
The final two chapters are particularly interesting as they look at the rapid acceleration of events surrounding Israel, with antisemitism and opposition to God’s purpose reaching a crescendo.
This book ends with a reminder to us of the things to look out for as we watch events unfolding, and how to respond to them with
- Persistent prayer
- Proclaiming the truth boldly
- Preparing diligently
So if you are wondering how to answer neighbours and friends who talk to you about events in the Middle East, this could just be the book for you.
Gordon, along with his wife Lorna, is part of the leadership team of Revelation TV, a 24/7 Christian television station that broadcasts in the UK on Sky 581 and Freesat TV 692, and throughout the world via the Roku Box and Apple TV. Gordon’s passion is writing and he is the author of eight books.