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Henk Zanoli

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Henk Zanoli
Hendrikus Antonius Zanoli

(1923-04-23)23 April 1923
Died9 December 2015(2015-12-09) (aged 92)
The Hague, Netherlands
Known forSaving Jews from the Holocaust during World War II
MovementDutch anti-Nazi resistance
Awards Righteous Among the Nations (1950)

Hendrikus Antonius "Henk" Zanoli (born on 21 April 1923 – 9 December 2015)[1] was a Dutch lawyer who was recognized by Israel as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1950, with his name being listed at Yad Vashem in the city of Jerusalem. During World War II, he was a member of the Dutch resistance, which was formed to oppose the German occupation of the Netherlands, and was personally involved in smuggling many Jews to protect them amidst the Holocaust. In 2014, Zanoli returned his Righteous Among the Nations medal to the Israeli embassy in The Hague and subsequently wrote to the Israeli ambassador to protest the country's ongoing military actions in Operation Protective Edge: on 20 July of that year, Zanoli's grandniece's Palestinian husband lost six members of his family after an Israeli airstrike destroyed their house in the Gaza Strip.[2]


Zanoli died in The Hague, Netherlands, on 9 December 2015, at the age of 92.

World War II[edit]

Zanoli was born in Laren in 1923. During the war, the Zanoli family were involved in the resistance. In 1943, when Zanoli's father had already been arrested by the German occupiers,[3] Zanoli himself smuggled the young Jewish boy Elhanan Pinto from Amsterdam to Eemnes. With his mother Jans, Zanoli kept Pinto in hiding for the rest of the war. While the rest of Pinto's family were killed in the Holocaust,[4] he survived to reach age 72 before dying in Jerusalem in 2007.[3] The resistance work cost Zanoli's father and brother-in-law their lives, while his Jewish sister-in-law was deported and never returned.[5]

2014 Gaza War[edit]

In 2011, Israel recognized Zanoli's mother[6] as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, presenting her with an honorary medal.[7][8][9] However, Zanoli, who himself was recognized as Righteous in 1950, returned this medal to Israel during the 2014 Gaza War in order to protest after an Israeli airstrike killed six of his grandniece's in-laws, who were Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.[5]


  1. ^ "Online Familieberichten; Overleden: Hendrikus Antonius (Henk) Zanoli (09-12-2015)". Online-familieberichten.nl. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  2. ^ Schuetze, Christopher F.; Barnard, Anne (15 August 2014). "Resisting Nazis, He Saw Need for Israel. Now He Is Its Critic". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b Hartman, Ben (18 August 2014). "Niece of Man Saved by Dutchman who Returned Yad Vashem Medal: 'I Disagree With Him But I Love Him'". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Dutchman returns Holocaust medal after family deaths in Gaza". BBC. 16 August 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Dutchman returns Holocaust medal in protest over Gaza". Irishtimes.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  6. ^ De Dokwerker Yad Vashem Database onderscheidingen
  7. ^ "The Righteous Among The Nations : Zanoli-Smit,Johanna Jacoba". Db.yadvashem.org. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Man who helped Jewish kid in WWII returns medal to Israel over Gaza bombing". Nltimes.nl. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Man returns Holocaust medal in protest over Israel's bombing in Gaza". Seattletimes.com. 19 August 2014. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2017.