A Dutch diplomat who issued visas to thousands of Lithuanian Jews so they could escape Nazi persecution, but was reprimanded for breaking diplomatic rules, has been officially recognized. Of all the people to whom he issued visas for the Dutch Antilles and Suriname, 95% survived. Now 47 years after he died, Jan Zwartendijk was awarded a gold Erepenning voor Menslievend Hulpbetoon – the highest possible Dutch non-military honor and the first awarded since 1964. Israel made him Righteous among nations in 1997, and Lithuania honored him with a memorial in 2018, the year his story was told in De Rechvaardigen (The Just). “No-one would have blamed my father if he had kept the door shut and helped no-one,” said his son, Rob. “But he thought ‘wait, I have to save these people’. And with some ingenuity, he was able to do it.”

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