Hero Who Hid Jewish Children in Laundry Baskets from Nazis Dies at 107
A heroic man who hid Jewish children in laundry baskets in Amsterdam from Nazis has died at age 107.
Johan van Hulst, a Dutch seminary leader and later a politician, died March 22, the Daily Mail reported.
Hulst was honored as a Righteous Among the Nations in 1972, an award that is given to non-Jews who heroically rescued Jews during the Holocaust.
The former Protestant seminary leader rescued at least 600 Jewish children from being deported to Nazi death camps.
Johan van Hulst died at the age of 107. He will be remembered as a hero of the #Dutch resistance during #WOII for saving many #Jewish children pic.twitter.com/BGQvvqNvGz
— Dutch Embassy Israel (@NLinIsrael) March 26, 2018
Hulst used an “ingenious system” to hide young Jews, most under the age of 12, in laundry baskets and sacks across the city.
Nazis kept Jewish families in a nursery school across the street before being deporting them to death camps. If there were too many children, Nazis would separate them from their parents and put them in Hulst’s school prior to deportation.
The brave Hulst resisted the Nazis by writing down fewer children than SS Guards originally believed were at the school. He would use his system to save the Jewish children by having his helpers smuggle them to different houses and pretending that they were their own children, The Times of Israel reported.
Hulst successfully skirted the Nazis until one of his collaborators revealed the scheme and he was forced to go into hiding in 1945.
Johan van Hulst, Righteous Among The Nations, Dies at 107: In January 2012, a day after a diplomatic hug with then Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen, Bibi Netanyahu sat down with Johan van Hulst, a man who helped to save the lives of… https://t.co/84X6BpW7Hc Tablet pic.twitter.com/PBGy65EAJL
— Jewish Community (@JComm_NewsFeeds) March 28, 2018
After the war, Hulst became a politician, serving as a senator for the Christian Democratic Party from 1956 to 1981.
“We say, those who save one life save a universe. You saved hundreds of universes,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Hulst during a trip to the Netherlands in 2012. “I want to thank you in the name of the Jewish people, but also in the name of humanity.”
Hulst said he felt that he didn’t do enough to deter the Nazis and rescue Jews.
“I actually only think about what I have not been able to do — to those few thousand children that I could not have saved,” he said in 2015.
Johan van Hulst, Dutch politician who saved hundreds of Jewish children from transport to the Westerbork transit camp during World War II, passed away at age 107.
"It's not about me, I do not want to put myself in the foreground or play a resistance hero." #WW2 pic.twitter.com/bEfjFvFgRY
— WWII Pictures (@WWIIpix) March 26, 2018
The Netherlands is second to only Poland in the number of heroic people honored as Righteous Among the Nations, with more than 5,000.
A version of this article previously appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.
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