91-year-old courageous protector of Jews from Nazi genocide returns his medal to Israel

August 18, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


In 1943, in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, Henk Zanoli took a dangerous train trip, slipping past Nazi guards and checkpoints to smuggle a Jewish boy from Amsterdam to the Dutch village of Eemnes, where the boy was hidden in Zanoli’s family home for two years. For this, he and his late mother received the “Righteous Among the Nations” award—given by Israel's Yad Vashem memorial to non-Jews who protected Jews during the Nazi Holocaust that killed millions of Jews in Europe.

Zanoli was given the medal in 2011 and returned it to the Israeli embassy in the Netherlands on August 11 with a letter in which he wrote, “After the horror of the holocaust my family strongly supported the Jewish people also with regard to their aspirations to build a national home. Over more than six decades I have however slowly come to realize that the Zionist project had from its beginning a racist element in it in aspiring to build a state exclusively for Jews.” Zanoli, a retired lawyer, wrote of Israel’s recent “Operation Protective Edge” attack/invasion of Gaza that such actions “have already resulted in serious accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

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