02 February 2022
Tomorrow, 3 February 2022, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, will host a ceremony posthumously honoring Dr. Jacob Cornelis Boon from Holland as Righteous Among the Nations. Dr. Boon risked his life to save a Jewish child, Abraham Veffer, during WWII. Dr. Boon’s daughter, Liz Dolev, who lives in Israel, will attend the ceremony and accept the medal and certificate on behalf of her late father. Also in attendance will be members of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations, family members of Dolev and via virtual means Veffer family members. Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan and Dr. Joel Zisenwine, Director of Yad Vashem's Department of the Righteous Among the Nations, will present the medal and certificate to Dolev on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Dr. Jacob Cornelis Boon’s name will be added to the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. A memorial ceremony will be held in the Hall of Remembrance at 11:00, followed by the awarding of the medal and certificate in the Yad Vashem Synagogue and the unveiling of Dr. Boon's name in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations. The ceremony will be conducted in Hebrew. Simultaneous translation to Dutch will be available. Media interested in covering the event must RSVP in advance to the Communications Division and arrive at the Hall of Remembrance with a valid GPO Card and Green Pass.
The Rescue Story
Jonas Veffer and Sara Nebig, childhood friends, were married in Amsterdam in 1923. The couple had six children: Jacob (b. 1924), Rachel (b. 1926), Meijer (b. 1928), Abraham (b. 1930), Joseph (b. 1931) and Juda (b. 1933). In 1928, the family moved to Bussum, where they opened a successful florist.
After the German occupation of Holland in 1940, antisemitism increased and the Nazi authorities imposed ever increasing restrictions on the Jewish citizens.
In 1942, two resistance men disguised as German soldiers visited the Veffer family’s florist. They told the Veffers that the deportations of the Jews in Amsterdam had started, and they offered the family a hiding place in a large residence in Bussum. The Veffers and other relatives gratefully accepted their offer. After one month, however, the resistance workers were arrested, and the Jewish refugees quickly scattered to other hiding places.
Abraham Veffer, then 12 years old, was hidden by Dr. Jacob Cornelis Boon, a former loyal customer of the flower shop. Boon’s wife was Jewish, and he was active in the resistance. Dr. Boon was a physician in the Diaconesses hospital in Bussum, where he admitted Abraham as a patient. At first, Abraham was hospitalized in an isolation room, but when the staff grew suspicious, he was placed in the children’s ward. Dr. Boon continuously watched over Abraham.
Apparently due to informers, one day Dr. Boon and Abraham were arrested and brought to the Gestapo headquarters in Amsterdam. After being imprisoned for six weeks, Dr. Boon was released. Because there were no transports to the Westerbork transit camp at that time, Abraham was taken to an orphanage in Amsterdam. When his mother, Sara Veffer, learned from the resistance what happened to her son, she traveled to the orphanage and managed to bring Abraham back to Bussum. There he was hidden by the Makkinje, Bakker, and Snel families until liberation.
After the war, the Veffer family emigrated to Canada, where they again opened a florist.
On 27 May 2019, Yad Vashem recognized Dr. Jacob Cornelis Boon as Righteous Among the Nations.
To date, Yad Vashem has recognized some 29,000 Righteous Among the Nations from over 50 nations worldwide. For more information about the Righteous Among the Nations program, click here.