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 at the age of 107, the Daily Mail reported. Hulst was honored as a Righteous Among the Nations in 1972, an award 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.
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 deported to German Nazi 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 man then 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 explained the situation, as a result, he was forced to go into hiding in 1945. After the war, Hulst became a politician and was served 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. I want to thank you in the name of the Jewish people, but also in the name of humanity,” the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu told Hulst during a trip to the Netherlands in 2012. (RELATED: Elderly Holocaust Survivor Killed By An Islamist She Knew Since She Was Seven)
Hulst said that 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. (RELATED: I’m A Jew. I Had No Idea I’d Be Spending Christmas Among Neo-Nazis)
The Netherlands has the second largest amount of heroic people honored as Righteous Among the Nations, with more than 5,000 people. Poland has the highest amount of Righteous Among the Nations honorees.
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