Dirk Kroon, a young man of 33, was an electrical technician and fireman in the city of Soest in central Holland.
From the early stages of the German occupation, Dirk participated in underground activities, and even took part in the raid on the municipal department for resident registration. When the deportations began in the summer of 1942, Kirk joined the Westerweel group, whose members hid and smuggled out Jews, particularly members of the Hachshara (Zionist training program), who had come from Germany to Loosdrecht and Deventer, Holland, at the end of the 1930’s.
Many meetings were held in the Kroon family home, at which the group members discussed rescue methods and options. Thanks to the group’s work, many Jewish lives were saved.
Dirk hid Hans Mogendorff (subsequently Natan Magen), a Hachshara member in Deventer, and his wife, Sophie de Vries (subsequently Bina). The couple left in June 1943, in attempt to reach Spain. They were caught at the border, but survived.
After Hans and Sophie left Dirk’s house, Eduard and Adele Bernard arrived, together with their 18-year-old daughter Henrietta, and requested refuge until they could return to their previous hiding place. They stayed at the Kroons for about six weeks. Henrietta and Dirk became romantically involved, and she stayed on after her parents left.
In July 1944, the Germans launched a surprise search on the Kroon house, and Dirk rushed to hide the now pregnant Henrietta in a different location. In December 1944, Dirk, who was already wanted by the Germans, was arrested, and in January 1945, he was executed along with another 9 underground members.
At their meeting on 11 March 2007 the members of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem reached the decision to award the title of Righteous Among the Nations posthumously to the late Dirk Kroon. The ceremony at Yad Vashem was attended by Henrietta Schellekens née Bernard, and David Kroon, Henrietta and Dirk’s son.