By August 16, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

He Saved Jews During Nazi Holocaust, Now He’s Giving Israel His Metal Back

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He saved Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, but now a 91-year-old Dutch man who was declared a Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli Yad Vashem Holocaust museum has given his award back.

During the German occupation of his nation, Henk Zanoli had bravely risked his life for the sake of others. But on Thursday returned his medal and certificate to Yad Vashem because six of his relatives were killed by an Israeli Defense Forces bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip last month.

Back in 2011, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum awarded both Henk Zanoli and his late mother, Johana Zanoli-Smit, the Righteous Among the Nations award for having saved a Jewish child, Elhanan Pinto, when the Nazis occupied Holland. Zanoli’s own father was sent to the Dachau concentration camp in 1941 as a result of his politically outspoken opposition to the occupation.

He eventually would die at the Mauthausen concentration camp in the month of February 1945. Zanoli’s brother-in-law was executed as well, for resistance against the Nazi war machine. One of his brothers, as well, had a Jewish fiancée, and was killed by the Nazis.

But Zanoli’s great-niece, Angelique Eijpe, is a Dutch diplomat. She is the head of her nation’s diplomatic mission in the country of Oman. Her husband is the economist Isma’il Ziadah, who was born in the al-Bureij refugee camp located in central Gaza. Ziadah’s parents were born in now renamed town of Fallujah, which is now known as town of Kiryat Gat.

On Sunday, July 20, an Israeli jet bombed the Ziadah family’s home in al-Bureij. Zanoli’s relatives: Muftiyah, 70; three of her sons, Jamil, Omar and Youssef; Jamil’s wife, Bayan; and their 12-year-old son, Shaaban were all killed. None of them were terrorists. All of them were civilians.

Now, Zanoli has returned his award to the Israeli Embassy in The Hague – exactly where he received them in an official ceremony three years ago. He sent the following letter, addressed to Ambassador Haim Davon.

Zanoli opened by explaining the high price his family paid for fighting for the lives and rights of the Jewish people.

“Against this background it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel,” he explained.

Read the full letter, embedded, below…

“The great- great grandchildren of my mother have lost their [Palestinian] grandmother, three uncles, an aunt and a cousin at the hands of the Israeli army … For me to hold on to the honor granted by the State of Israel, under these circumstances, will be both an insult to the memory of my courageous mother who risked her life and that of her children fighting against suppression and for the preservation of human life as well as an insult to those in my family, four generations on, who lost no less than six of their relatives in Gaza at the hands of the State of Israel.”

Israel’s actions in Gaza, he said further, “have already resulted in serious accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. As a retired lawyer it would be no surprise to me that these accusations could lead to possible convictions if true and unpoliticized justice is able to have its course. What happened to our kin in Gaza will no doubt be brought to the table at such a time as well.”

Posted in: Politics, Religion

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