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Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on September 18th, 2018
Johan van Hulst: Who helped save more than 600-Jewish children during the Holocaust

Johan van Hulst
Johan van Hulst
Photo: wikipedia.org

In 1943, in Nazi occupied Amsterdam, Johan risked his life to save these children, some as young as infants, who had been put in a nursery awaiting transport to the death camps.

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But next to the nursery was a teacher’s college, where Johan was the principal.

With the collaboration of the nursery director, Henriette Pimentel, children were handed over a hedge to Johan or one of his students.

Then they were hidden and cared for until being smuggled out.

The German troops were housed across the street. But when trolley cars stopped in the middle of the street, they blocked their view of the teachers’ college.

While their view was blocked, the children hidden in baskets or bags, were rushed to safety.

However, the Nazis kept detailed records of each child, so the deportation center director, Walter Siiskind collaborated with Johan, as they erased those children’s records.

Had Johan or his collaborators been caught, they would have been shot.

But for Johan, the hardest decision was which children would live, for he could only take several children at a time without being caught.

The other children would die, and their loss haunted him for the rest of his 107-year-life.

In 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Johan, “We say those who save one life saves a universe. You saved hundreds of universes.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Johan van Hulst in 2012
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Johan van Hulst in 2012.
Photo: cnn.com

Johan’s work and that of the others was so remarkable, that in testament, the teachers’ college is now the National Holocaust Museum.

For they had risked their lives so that more than 600 Jewish children could live.

To witness his work, please click here.

Editor's Note: To learn more, click here. To learn more about the National Holocaust Museum, click here.

Thank you to my dear friend Erika Schlesinger for sharing this story with us.

In the next KazanToday: A third grader who helps to feed poor children.

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