Labour mayor: Israel behind US school shootings (& a hero dies, aged 107)

March 29, 2018

This is a follow-up to these dispatches:

* “If it quacks like a duck…” (& Holocaust survivor brutally murdered in Paris)
* A rally in London, a rally in Paris

 

CONTENTS

1. Macron, Le Pen denounce anti-Semitism, BBC website says it is only alleged
2. A hero dies, aged 107
3. Labour activists move to sack a black MP who stood up for the Jews
4. BBC presenter: “What about the Labour mayor who said Israel was behind the school shootings in the US, and that Zionism was orchestrating ISIS?”
5. A granddaughter writes: “Mireille, you’ve turned to be the grandma of so many”
6. The Guardian and anti-Semitism
7. “Why did I protest against Corbyn?” (By Hadley Freeman, Guardian, March 28, 2018)
8. “If you can’t see anti-Semitism, it’s time to open your eyes” (By Michael Segalov, Guardian, March 29, 2018)
9. “The row over anti-Semitism in Labour shows there’s nothing harder than owning up to a mistake” (By Jack Bernhardt, Guardian, March 27, 2018)
10. “Johan van Hulst, Dutch schoolteacher who saved hundreds of Jewish children during Holocaust, dies at 107” (Washington Post, March 29, 2018)

 

MACRON, LE PEN OTHERS DENOUNCE ANTI-SEMITISM, BBC WEBSITE SAYS IT IS ONLY ALLEGED

[Notes by Tom Gross]

Above, a flower tribute to the 85-year old French Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll who was murdered a few days ago in a frenzied anti-Semitic attack. (Photo taken by the victim’s granddaughter, who has corresponded with me after a reader forwarded her my dispatch on her grandmother from earlier this week. Further down this dispatch, I attach a statement by her.)

Amazingly, the BBC website was still claiming the attack was “allegedly” anti-Semitic even after the French police, having interviewed those arrested, announced that the sheer viciousness of the murder was a result of the perpetrators’ hatred of Jews, and even after French President Emmanuel Macron said “Mireille Knoll was killed in an appalling way because she was Jewish,” and even after the French National Front leader Marine Le Pen (who is trying to legitimize herself) condemned it as an anti-Semitic hate crime.

President Macron was among those who attended her funeral for Mireille Knoll, and up to 30,000 people attended a silent march in her memory on Wednesday evening past her apartment in a working class neighborhood of Paris.

An annual French government count of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and anti-Christian acts – most of which involve threats, not violence – dropped in 2017 compared with the year before. But anti-Semitic violence increased by 26 percent, and criminal damage to Jewish places of worship and burial by 22 percent.

 

A HERO DIES, AGED 107

Above: Johan van Hulst, a Dutch schoolteacher who saved more than 600 Jewish children and babies during the Holocaust. He has died aged 107 in Amsterdam.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem said that van Hulst, who was a devout Calvinist, ran one of the “largest-scale” rescue operations of Jews during the Second World War, aided by Walter Süskind, a German-born Jew, and Henriëtte Pimentel, who ran the Jewish nursery and smuggled Jewish children out to van Hulst.

A Dutch Holocaust museum, which is still under development, is being built on the site of van Hulst’s old school.

107,000 Jews in the Netherlands were sent to death camps by the Nazis and the many Dutch Nazi collaborators; 5,200 survived, one of those lowest percentages of any Jewish population in Europe.

Van Hulst was reluctant to speak about his rescue efforts during recent decades, saying he was still traumatized by memories of those he could not rescue. “Now try to imagine 80, 90, perhaps 70 or 100 children standing there, and you have to decide which children to take with you,” van Hulst said. “That was the most difficult day of my life… You know for a fact that the children you leave behind are going to die. I took 12 with me. Later on I asked myself: ‘Why not 13?’”

(I attach an obituary from today’s Washington Post below.)

 

LABOUR ACTIVISTS MOVES TO SACK A BLACK MP WHO STOOD UP FOR THE JEWS

Moderate British Labour MP David Lammy (above, fourth from the left), one of the few black Labour members of parliament, is under attack by Corbyn supporters in the Labour party who say they will seek to have him de-selected from parliament (he represents the north London constituency of Tottenham) after he attended Monday’s Enough is Enough rally against anti-Semitism in London.

Lammy has received vicious online abuse from left-wing activists for expressing solidarity with the city’s Jewish population. They claim he had failed to show “absolute loyalty” to party leader Corbyn.

(Corbyn last night made a public plea to Labour supporters to stop abusing David Lammy, Luciana Berger, John Woodcock, Ian Austin and Wes Streeting, all Labour MPs who have strongly denounced anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. [Berger and Austin are both subscribers to this email list.])

Separately, Labour’s anti-Semitism rift deepened earlier today when the party’s disciplinary chief Christine Shawcroft was forced to step down after an email was leaked revealing that she queried the suspension of a Labour candidate who claimed the Holocaust was a fantasy.

It was also revealed today that Corbyn himself, who denies being in any way anti-Semitic, was a personal member of a fourth and fifth Facebook group in which anti-Semitic views were expressed.

And there were also suggestions on Labour Party websites that it was the Jews, in the form of Mossad, who were behind the attempted murders (almost certainly by the Russians) of Russian dissident Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

 

“WHAT ABOUT THE LABOUR MAYOR WHO SAID ISRAEL WAS BEHIND THE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS IN THE US?”

One of the few British TV presenters to properly challenge Labour anti-Semitism is Andrew Neil, who presents the Daily Politics show on BBC.

Neil (who is a longtime subscriber to this email list) said to a senior Labour party figure in an interview yesterday:

“What about the former mayor of Blackburn, then? Salim Mulla — he said Zionist Jews were a disgrace to humanity. And he also said that Israel, Israel, was behind the school shootings in the United states, and that Zionism was orchestrating ISIS. This is your party… he was reinstated, too. He’s in your party. This is the kind of thing the Nazis did in the 1930s. They accused the Jews of all sorts of things. And here is a member of your party who was suspended and then reinstated, blaming the Jews for the school shootings in the United States. I mean how high is the threshold before you get kicked out for anti-Semitism now?”

 

“MIREILLE, YOU’VE TURNED TO BE THE GRANDMA OF SO MANY”

(Written in English today by one of Mireille Knoll’s granddaughters, which she has asked me to share. She lives in Israel and is a native French and Hebrew speaker. I decided not to name her on this public weblist in case some people find her online and write her unpleasant messages.)


Wow, I’m still under shock.

From all the love I received from my friends who knows me but beside, from hundreds of people around the world.

Muslims, French, Israeli, German, British, Russian, American and more... with your kind words, you made me feel like brothers and sisters. Thank you so much for all the love and sympathy!

I know grandma loved to be surrounded.

Well, she got more then 30,000 people walking a memorial and silent walk for her, and for all the others, who were killed by fanatics terrorist with no heart.

I didn’t imagine this story will go trough the entire world, I met my families both sides and so happy I met again my cousin that I didn’t see for 20 years.

This tragic story united us all together.

I’m so proud of my father, with his words that we have to love and respect each other, instead of war and hate, demanding for brotherhood.

Proud of my education and values I grew up with, the love of human race with no discrimination!

For the first time, I also met the press and media who didn’t let us even one second to breath and embrace the pain.

It’s so painful to deliver her story again but so important to reminisce, she was a survivor from holocaust, to be killed in such atrocity.

No memories, no pictures were left.

This tragedy will rest in our hearts.

Mireille, you’ve turned to be the grandma of so many. We all have families, we all have mothers, we are all affected.

The world needs to wake up!

Tomorrow someone else can be a victim. Cause I never imagined that this could happen to us.

I’m calling for peace, dignity, love, and brotherhood to the entire world.

“Together we stand, Divided we fall”

 

THE GUARDIAN AND ANTI-SEMITISM

I mentioned in my previous dispatch that some senior staff editors at The Guardian (unlike most other British papers) still have a problem with admitting that Holocaust denial by Labour party members is anti-Semitic.

In fairness to The Guardian it has also run some strong pieces this week condemning anti-Semitism and I attach three of them below.

However, it would be helpful if The Guardian made some acknowledgement of its own past role in stoking anti-Semitism both among some of their writers and by allowing, over many years, truly vicious readers’ comments defaming Jews and Israel under its “Comment is free articles”.

I have cited examples of this on numerous occasions in these dispatches.

On one of the rare occasions that a Guardian editor acknowledged some anti-Semitism in the paper, I wrote a piece about it here.

***

I attach four articles below.

-- Tom Gross:


ARTICLES

GUARDIAN WRITER: WHY DID I PROTEST AGAINST CORBYN? LOOK AT HIS LONG LIST OF EVASIONS

Why did I protest against Corbyn? Look at his long list of evasions
It felt good to join others demonstrating over the Labour leader’s conduct. He needs to take responsibility and tackle anti-Semitism in the party once and for all

By Hadley Freeman
The Guardian

March 28, 2018

It was a politely furious protest. I’ll talk about the politeness first. I arrived a few minutes late to Parliament Square for the demonstration against … well, let’s say the somewhat cavalier attitude towards antisemitism displayed by various members of the Labour party, and specifically the most senior member of the Labour party. The square was jam-packed, and despite all the people on my social media feed who had been urgently telling me for days that Jews were hysterically conniving to bring down Jeremy Corbyn, there was a notably peaceful air to the proceedings. While speakers such as Luciana Berger tried in vain to make themselves heard, the crowd made self-mocking jokes: surely there must be a buffet at a Jewish protest? I wished I’d made some signs: “Not antisemitic? Jew must be joking!” It was that kind of protest.

But there was also palpable fury beneath the politeness. I can’t speak for why all the other people at the protest felt furious – we didn’t establish a party line on this at our last general meeting because we were too busy discussing how to control the weather, as a US politician alleged last week. But I was furious after a weekend of news stories about how Corbyn had, once again, endorsed antisemitic behaviour and failed to take responsibility for it until public opinion forced him to do so. Deja vu? Groundhog Day, more like.

Let’s run through the greatest hits: there was the time Corbyn took tea with the hate preacher Raed Salah, and called him “a very honoured citizen”, even though he’d been charged in Israel with inciting anti-Jewish racism and violence; the time he hosted representatives from Hamas and Hezbollah, even though Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of the Jews; the times he accepted a total of £20,000 for appearing on Iran’s Press TV, a channel that regularly hosts Holocaust deniers; the time he defended the Rev Stephen Sizer, who was later banned by church authorities from social media for sharing antisemitic material blaming Israel for 9/11; that he was an active member of three Facebook groups on which deeply antisemitic posts regularly appeared; and that now he has commented on Facebook in support of an absurdly antisemitic mural. Corbyn is frequently praised by his supporters for sticking to his guns, never wavering in his opinions, and yet when you bring up any of the above instances they wave them away as being “ages ago” and say he’s apologised since. Corbyn has always cried innocent, insisting that of course he abhors antisemitism (and-all-other-forms-of-racism). How could anyone accuse him of being soft on it? Don’t they know his mother was at the Battle of Cable Street? Yeah, well, my mother worked with Jim Henson – it doesn’t make me Big Bird.

Truly, I have never known a man to find himself alongside antisemites so often and not realise until it is publicly pointed out to him. Someone ought to make a sitcom about his misadventures with the antisemites. It could be called Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!, but with a more tutting tone than the usual triumphant one. A descending horn noise could sound whenever someone has to say it: “Have you just joined another antisemitic social media group? Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!”

I was furious after a weekend of watching his supporters – members of the public, journalists I once respected, various MPs – insist that this was all nonsense, a smear, a Zionist conspiracy designed to bring down infallible Jeremy. Quite how Jews have the wherewithal to conspire against Corbyn by cunningly making him endorse antisemites without his knowledge is never explained. So let’s get something straight: if someone has actually done something, reporting that action is not “a smear”, it’s “reporting”. And suggesting Jews always have an ulterior motive, even when reacting to antisemitism, is really not the best way to prove that you’re not antisemitic.

I’m furious with people who respond to these points by huffing that criticism of Israel, by Corbyn or anyone on the left, does not make one antisemitic, even though Israel had nothing to do with any of Corbyn’s antisemitic encounters; and I’m furious with people who imply a little antisemitism is a price worth paying to achieve Corbyn’s socialist society. I’m furious with people who spent all of last week reading Russian runes into an image of Corbyn’s hat on Newsnight, and this week insist they can’t see anything antisemitic about a blatantly antisemitic mural. Most of all, I am furious with people for insisting there is nothing to see here, when we all know that if a Tory or Ukip politician had done half of the things Corbyn has done, these same people would be insisting they be put in the stocks. The hypocrisy takes the breath away.

Finally, I’m furious with people making Corbyn seem like a passive participant in all this. Sure, we can talk about how antisemitism is “baked into” the far left, and Corbyn himself has started to push this narrative with his latest apology (his third, or possibly his fourth since Friday – I’ve lost count). He says “antisemitism has resurfaced within the Labour party”, as though it were nothing to do with him, and others refer to antisemitism as a sickness that they will now root out.

But you cannot help getting sick – you can, however, help turning a blind eye to antisemitism. Corbyn made his own choices about what he clicked online and who he had tea with. What Jewish people need is for him to take some responsibility, show some backbone and honesty, explain why he was willing to ignore antisemitism for so long, and apologise. Not for “feelings hurt”, but for endorsing racists.

But I’ll be honest, I’m not holding my breath. So in the meantime, going to the protest was a balm. It was a relief to be with people who weren’t gaslighting Jews by insisting that what they were seeing in front of their eyes wasn’t true, and it was nice to see the MPs who showed up – Harriet Harman, Jess Phillips, Stella Creasy, Chuka Umunna – and know that at least some Labour politicians weren’t laughing this off as a distraction.

By the time Labour MP Wes Streeting took the stand to talk about how this ongoing scandal was “a stain” on the Labour party, and that Shami Chakrabarti’s 2016 report into antisemitism in the Labour party was a laughable “whitewash”, emotions were running high. No yarmulkes fell off any scalps, but you could see the backs of necks pinking. It was a civil protest, but a passionate one, and a deeply serious and heartfelt one. And as I left I felt myself smiling a little. But I’ll be honest – I was still furious.

(Hadley Freeman is a Guardian columnist and feature writer)

 

“THE ROW OVER ANTISEMITISM IN LABOUR SHOWS THERE’S NOTHING HARDER THAN OWNING UP TO A MISTAKE BY YOUR OWN SIDE”

Whatever his supporters think, criticism of Corbyn is not a Blairite plot

The row over antisemitism in Labour shows there’s nothing harder than owning up to a mistake by your own side

By Jack Bernhardt
The Guardian
March 27, 2018

“Oh, Jeremy Corbyn.” Remember when those words were a fun White Stripes chant? Now it’s just the thing I mutter sadly when I read the news. Last week, Corbyn was forced to say sorry for something he did on Facebook, after a comment he made in 2012 in support of a grotesquely antisemitic mural resurfaced. Corbyn’s original comment was dreadful both because it was supporting an antisemitic work, and because it implied the “art” was too edgy for the mainstream – the last refuge of the talentless hack.

In his apology this weekend, Corbyn regretted that he didn’t look more closely at the image before writing the comment. For what it’s worth, I don’t think Corbyn is actively antisemitic, I just think he’s very good at shouting about the things he wants to shout about (such as austerity, inequality or cuts to the NHS), but very bad at talking about murkier, more difficult questions (such as Brexit, antisemitism within the Labour party or foreign policy). He won’t tackle antisemitism seriously because it’s likely to split the party (and not the good split of Blairites v the Chosen People) – and ultimately cohesion within the far left is what he will prioritise.

But Corbyn isn’t really the problem – to me, he’s a flawed politician who is a symptom of our fractured politics. For evidence, look no further than the odious hashtag that started circulating after Corbyn’s apology: #PredictTheNextCorbynSmear. I know Corbyn isn’t responsible for every hashtag that uses his name, and I know there are plenty of people who broadly support him but found this hashtag to be utterly hideous – I don’t want to tar every single Corbyn supporter with the Canary brush. But there is a vocal minority who can only see events – from the antisemitic row and Corbyn’s handling of the Salisbury attack to the confusion over Brexit – through a prism that translates any legitimate criticism into a Blairite, neoliberal plot.

In their eyes, there’s no way that true Jewish Labour supporters could get upset about this – they must be faking their outrage to build support for a hated centrist, egged on by the Israel lobby. It’s a prism that demands loyalty above rationality, which turns would-be allies into enemies, which reduces brilliant Labour MPs such as Luciana Berger, who has been fighting against food poverty and corporate health and safety loopholes for years, into supposed stooges, ripe for antisemitic abuse.

This is in no way exclusively a “far left” problem. We all have our prisms through which we see politics. In America, Trump voters see any criticism of their hapless president as an attack on themselves, and any controversy as created by the establishment. That’s how evangelical Christians can ignore allegations of affairs with porn stars, as they are surely just a ploy to get a religion-hating Democrat in the White House. And there are few prisms as dogmatic and as swivel-eyed as the one through which the Daily Mail and the rest of the hard right view Brexit. For them, there are no legitimate concerns about the Irish border, or about the future of British trade, or about a spike in hate crimes – it must instead be a part of a Soros-funded campaign to keep our passports pink.

Sadly, remainers have their own prism: Brexit becomes the punchbag for everything, blinding us to wider problems, and making us see everything as a dumb binary choice between leave and remain. Any tiny slight is seen as evidence of corruption: Andrew Adonis recently tweeted that the BBC had a pro-Brexit bias because it didn’t carry a mention of a march he was on – a march I read about on the BBC website in an article that mentioned Adonis by name. For someone with the title “Lord Adonis”, he is weirdly fragile.

These prisms are easy. It’s easier to point to a conspiracy theory than face up to the bigger problems within your own “movement”. For Brexiteers, it’s easier to scream “betrayal” at anyone and everything than face up to the fact that your campaign was built on lies that are now impossible to deliver.

For remainers, it’s easier to shout about Russia hacking the campaign, or Cambridge Analytica, than to focus on why so many impoverished people felt so angry at the status quo that they would want to commit such an act of self-harm.

And for the far left, it’s easier to concoct tales of establishment smears than it is to root out the disturbing pockets of antisemitism that the leadership has ignored. At some point, though, it becomes unsustainable. At some point, we all have to break free from our prisms.

(Jack Bernhardt is a comedy writer and occasional performer)

 

IF YOU CAN’T SEE ANTISEMITISM, IT’S TIME TO OPEN YOUR EYES

If you can’t see antisemitism, it’s time to open your eyes
Jeremy Corbyn isn’t alone – everyone in the Labour party should have recognised how offensive that mural was

By Michael Segalov
The Guardian
March 29, 2018

Some forms of antisemitism are self-evident in their manifestation: neo-Nazis wielding swastikas, denial of the Holocaust, vile sentiments known as the “blood libel”, which suggest that Jews harvest the blood of Christians with which to celebrate religious festivals year on year. Most of us would recognise these as bigoted and hateful, an attack on a community that has for centuries experienced prejudice across the world.

In the days that have followed Jeremy Corbyn’s offensive Facebook post coming to public attention, there has been outrage from what appear to be two distinct camps. Some Labour members are deeply troubled by the situation, while others argue ignorantly that the Labour leader has done nothing wrong.

What has become obvious in the past few days, however, is that many simply do not understand the content of this mural and why it is so deeply offensive – this is a more subtle antisemitic sentiment, which takes contextualising to understand.

Considering the Jewish community makes up just 0.5% of the UK’s population, and that for many of us the closest we will have to an education in the history of discrimination faced by Jewish people amounts to a few months of GCSE history and Inglourious Basterds, it’s possible a simple explanation could rectify the confusion once and for all.

First, make sure to actually look at the mural. Don’t take a fleeting glance as you prepare to tweet your outrage, but pause for a moment and take it all in. Sitting around a table is a group of rotund men: one has a full beard, and is counting money. That, in and of itself, is an antisemitic symbol.

It’s not just the big, hookednoses and evil expressions that make this iconography offensive and troubling, these depictions mirror antisemitic propaganda used by Hitler and the Nazis to whip up hatred that led to the massacre of millions of Jews. This extends to the table these figures are sat at, resting on human bodies, as the Nazis also depicted.

Context here is also important. If you haven’t yet, then research The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. An entirely fabricated text printed first in Russia during the early 1900s, it purports to document a meeting of Jewish leaders setting out plans to take over the world by controlling the media and press, and fostering religious conflict to subjugate non-Jews across the globe.

During the 1920s and 1930s the Protocols were a key element of the Nazi propaganda programme – at least 23 editions were published by the party in the two decades that preceded the outbreak of the second world war in 1939. The domination of the world by hooknosed men wielding power and money? There is more than a visual connection in this mural to antisemitism – the messaging is full-blown Nazi too.

In other contexts Illuminati conspiracies are light-hearted and funny: it’s not antisemitic to joke that Kanye West and Taylor Swift are part of a secret, triangle-based plot to conquer the world. But the employment of an Eye of Providence symbol (often associated with the Illuminati and Freemasonry) in the offending mural is clearly antisemitic. Racist conspiracy theorists also long claimed that Jews are in control of the Freemason network – think the Rothschilds and George Soros. That is antisemitism too.

If you’re left in any doubt, just read the words of Mear One, the street artist who painted the mural: “Some of the older white Jewish folk in the local community had an issue with me portraying their beloved #Rothschild or #Warburg etc as the demons they are,” he has written.

Of course there are some people – within Labour and outside of it – who are pleased to have any excuse to attack Corbyn. Their motivation might be unpleasant, but the “weaponisation” of antisemitism is somewhat less troubling if it can perceived to be there in the first place.

A small handful of people in Labour’s ranks know only too well the connotations in this mural, yet continue to defend it. There is no space in the Labour party for you. Progressive organisations are better off without you inside.

Labour can’t just pledge to kick the antisemites it finds out of the party: it needs to make a plan for combating bigotry in opposition and for entering government too. The Chakrabarti report from 2016 into antisemitism in Labour must be implemented fully. A party bureaucracy that has slowed the process down cannot be allowed to do so any longer. Labour must pledge to improve the national curriculum – better political education is needed in schools across the country to ensure murals like this are understood for what they are.

There must also, starting now, be better investment in educating Labour’s 550,000-strong party membership. A party that prides itself on its commitment to equality can and must do better.

It’s somewhat understandable that some people jumping to Corbyn’s defence now do so as a kneejerk reaction, as years of smears have made members defensive. This, however, is no such nonsense.

Corbyn is no antisemite, but he displayed a lack of judgment and awareness that he – and it appears some members – need to address. Time must be taken for reflection and education, or it will prove impossible to ensure the left is never blind to this issue again.

(Michael Segalov is the news editor of Huck magazine)

 

JOHAN VAN HULST, DUTCH SCHOOLTEACHER WHO SAVED HUNDREDS OF JEWISH CHILDREN DURING HOLOCAUST, DIES AT 107

Johan van Hulst, Dutch schoolteacher who saved hundreds of Jewish children during Holocaust, dies at 107
By Ellie Silverman
Washington Post
March 29, 2018

An inspector from the Dutch education ministry arrived at Johan van Hulst’s teacher training institute in Amsterdam on the morning of June 19, 1943. He noticed youngsters and, with SS soldiers standing nearby, asked, “Are those Jewish children?”

“You don’t really expect me to answer that, do you?” Dr. van Hulst replied.

The garden of Dr. van Hulst’s Reformed Teachers’ Training College bordered the garden of a Jewish nursery. Under Dr. van Hulst’s supervision, hundreds of Jewish infants and children had been passed across the hedge and hidden in his school. As Dr. van Hulst recalled, the inspector shook his hand and said, quietly, “In God’s name, be careful.”

Dr. van Hulst, who was credited with saving more than 600 Jewish babies and children during World War II and, in 1972, was named Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem, died March 22 in Amsterdam. He was 107.

The Dutch Senate, where Dr. van Hulst later served, announced his death but did not disclose the cause.

Dr. van Hulst was among more than 26,500 gentiles — 5,595 from the Netherlands — recognized by Yad Vashem for risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Yad Vashem described Dr. van Hulst as a Calvinist Protestant who smuggled children to safety in a “large-scale” rescue operation.

Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 and, by the summer of 1942, the deportations of Jews had begun. During the next two years, 107,000 Jews in the Netherlands were sent to death camps; 5,200 survived. Less than 25 percent of the Dutch Jewish population survived the Holocaust, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Dr. van Hulst’s school was diagonally opposite a theater that was being used by the Nazis as a way station for Jews sent to the Westerbork transit camp in the northeastern part of the country. From there, Dutch Jews would be moved to death camps in German-occupied Poland.

At the theater, Jewish children under 12 were separated from their parents and sent to a Jewish nursery across the street, said Bart Wallet, a historian at Vrije University in Amsterdam. When there were too many children for the facility, authorities asked Dr. van Hulst if they could use the spare room in the teachers’ academy.

Wallet said that Dr. van Hulst set up an “ingenious system” along with Walter Süskind, a German-born Jew, and Henriëtte Pimentel, who ran the Jewish nursery.

Süskind had fled Germany after Hitler’s rise to power and established himself in Amsterdam. Through his involvement with the local Jewish council, one of many municipal administrations the Germans formed to carry out Nazi orders, Süskind was charged with running the theater and registering the local Jews.

But Süskind made hundreds of children vanish from the administrative records after they had been separated from their parents and kept at the nursery next to Dr. van Hulst’s school. If Pimentel transferred 30 children to Dr. van Hulst’s school, they only wrote down 25 names, Wallet said.

Wallet described Süskind, Dr. van Hulst and Pimentel as “the brains of this whole smuggling network,” which also involved the help of Dr. van Hulst’s students and some expert timing.

A tram ran through the street separating Dr. Van Hulst’s school from the theater. Dr. van Hulst and his student helpers waited for the precise moment the tram stopped, temporarily blocking the SS officers’ view of the school, to hide the Jewish children in baskets and sacks, Wallet explained.

The children would then be taken to their next underground destination in German-occupied Holland. Most scholars estimate this operation saved about 600 children, Wallet said.

In the spring of 1945, one of the collaborators in the operation was arrested and tortured into giving up Dr. van Hulst’s name, Wallet said. Fearing execution, Dr. van Hulst went into hiding until the Netherlands was liberated by Allied forces in May.

After the war, Dr. van Hulst turned to politics. He was a member of the Dutch Senate from 1956 to 1981 and of the European Parliament for much of the 1960s. He also was an emeritus professor of pedagogy at Vrije University and played in chess tournaments. He refrained from talking about his role in the resistance to German occupation.

“I resolutely closed the book,” he told the Dutch newspaper Het Parool in 2015. He said he declined to “play a resistance hero” in the media, adding, “I actually only think about what I have not been able to do. To those few thousand children that I could not have saved.”

A Holocaust museum, which is still under development, now occupies the site of Dr. Hulst’s old school.

Johan Wilhelm van Hulst was born in Amsterdam on Jan. 28, 1911. His father was a furniture upholsterer, and his mother was a homemaker.

He graduated in 1929 from a pedagogical academy in Amsterdam and, at Vrije University, received a master’s degree in philosophy, a second master’s in pedagogy and a doctorate.

His wife of 69 years, Anna Jannetta Donker, died in 2006. Survivors include two daughters, Catharina Koot-van Hulst and Diane Schoonemann-van Hulst; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren, according to Wallet.

For all the attention he later received for his success at saving lives, Dr. van Hulst said he was traumatized by memories of those he could not rescue. In September 1943, Dr. van Hulst recalled, he found out that the Jewish child-care center was about to be closed. He was asked how many of the remaining children he could smuggle to safety before they fell into the hands of the Germans.

“Now try to imagine 80, 90, perhaps 70 or 100 children standing there, and you have to decide which children to take with you,” Dr. van Hulst said, according to Yad Vashem. “That was the most difficult day of my life. . . . You know for a fact that the children you leave behind are going to die. I took 12 with me. Later on I asked myself: ‘Why not 13?’”

 

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