50 Righteous Gentiles Receive Awards

More than 50 Dutch Righteous Gentiles received Yad Vashem awards from Shlomo Argov, Israel’s Ambassador to The Hague, in a solemn ceremony Monday in Amsterdam. It was the tenth ceremony of this kind here. The awards were given for having hidden or helped Jews during the Nazi occupation of Holland. The recipients came from all parts of the country. Several were accompanied by one or more of the Jews whom they had saved.

Argov recalled that the Dutch men and women who had helped the Jews at their own peril, provided an example of humanity in a world which had been largely devoid of that quality. Not only had the Nazis been determined to exterminate the Jews of Europe but the Allies had done very little to save them, he said. This, Argov added, should be a lesson for the present and the future of the State of Israel.

“We can never be confident again that anyone else will guarantee us or protect us against another attack against the Jewish people, “the envoy declared. He referred specifically to the propaganda campaign being waged currently against Israel, its government and its people, by comparing them with the Nazis.

The ceremony was also addressed by Amsterdam Mayor Willem Polak, himself a survivor of the Nazi occupation; Dr. Emmanuel Wikler, vice-president of the Ashkenazi Community Council; and Elisabeth Haars, Undersecretary of the Justice Ministry. Those attending the gathering included representatives of former Dutch resistance groups, rabbis and members of the First International Jewish Women’s Conference, who had spent three days in Amsterdam studying the effects of the Holocaust on the Dutch Jewish community. More than 100,000 Dutch Jews were victims of the Holocaust.

The Conference, jointly sponsored by the Women’s Divisions of the National United Jewish Appeal and Keren Hayesod, comprised some 200 women from 13 countries. The group left shortly after the ceremony for Israel where they will spend a week focusing on “Project Renewal,” the $1.2 billion social plan sponsored by world Jewry to reabsorb 45,000 poor immigrant families into the mainstream of Israeli society.

During their visit here, the Conference participants visited the Anne Frank House and the “Hollandsche Shouwburg, “which served as a transportation center for Amsterdam Jews after being rounded up during the Nazi occupation. They also visited the famous 17th Century Sephardi Synagogue and the Jewish Historical Museum. Friday evening the group attended the Liberal Jewish Synagogue.

In addition, the participants attended a symposium on the psychological impact of the Holocaust which was addressed by two Dutch Jewish experts on this subject. They were also received at The Hague by the new American Ambassador to Holland, Mrs. Gery Joseph, and also visited the Liberal Jewish Synagogue there.

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