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Dutch Righteous Among the Nations To be Honored at Yad Vashem Monday

18 September 2008

Henk Drogt, Righteous Among the Nations from the Netherlands, will be posthumously honored at Yad Vashem on Monday September 22, 2008 for rescuing Jews during the Holocaust. A memorial ceremony will take place in the Hall of Remembrance at 11:00, followed by the unveiling of the name of the Righteous in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations at 11:15. The ceremony will take place in English, in the presence of Henk Brink, son of the Righteous, H.E Michiel den Hond, Dutch Ambassador to Israel, Honorable Supreme Court Justice Yaacov Turkel, Chairman of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations, and Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem.

The events are open to the press in coordination with the Media Relations Department: 02 644 3410.

The Rescue Story

On March 9, 1943 the military police, Marechaussee, in Grootegast, Holland and its neighboring villages, received the order to arrest the remaining Jews of the area. At first, the policemen tried to argue with their superiors, but their commanders insisted and put pressure on their subordinates to comply with the order. The policemen stood firm and were subsequently arrested and taken to the Vught concentration camp. In 1988, all of them except one were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

Henk Drogt’s name was missing from the list submitted to the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, because he had managed to escape arrest. It took another twenty years and the unexpected help of an EL AL pilot, Mark Bergman, in order to be able to complete the picture. The stories he heard from Drogt’s son, Henk Brink (Drogt), whom he met on one of his flights to South Africa, prompted Bergman to turn to Yad Vashem. Bergman along with El Al President and Chief Executive Haim Romano will attend the ceremony.

Following his escape, Henk Drogt joined one of the Dutch resistance groups. He was caught in the beginning of August 1943 and executed on 14 April 1944. Henk Drogt was a young man of 23 years old at the time of his arrest, planning to get married to his girlfriend who was expecting a child - a son that he did not live to see.

Over 22,000 individuals have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, including more than 4,800 people from Holland.

Contact: Estee Yaari / Foreign Media Liaison / Yad Vashem