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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14Focusing on Jews in the Polish Borderlands$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774693

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774693.001.0001

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Lithuania Honours a Holocaust Rescuer

Lithuania Honours a Holocaust Rescuer

(p.249) Lithuania Honours a Holocaust Rescuer
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14

Jonathan Goldstein

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses Jan Zwartendijk (1896–1976). Zwartendijk was a Dutch businessman and a non-Jew who helped thousands of stranded Jews in the Lithuanian capital city of Kaunas in the summer of 1940. The Polish Jews who had fled to Lithuania precisely to escape Soviet rule felt especially vulnerable and desperate during the annexation process. By July, virtually all consulates in Kaunas were in the process of closing. Panic set in among the Jewish refugees. At this point, Jan Zwartendijk, voluntarily and at great personal risk, took on a role which quickly evolved into the rescue of Jews. The chapter explores his accomplishments and considers why Lithuania only chose to recognize him for his courage 59 years after the event.

Keywords:   Jan Zwartendijk, Holocaust, World War II, Holocaust rescuer, stranded Jews, Kaunas, Polish Jews, Jewish refugees

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