Henk Zanoli

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Henk Zanoli
Born(1923-04-23)April 23, 1923
DiedDecember 9, 2015(2015-12-09) (aged 92)
Known forDutch resistance member who returned Righteous Among the Nations medal
AwardsRighteous Among the Nations (1950)

Hendrikus Antonius "Henk" Zanoli (21 April 1923 – 9 December 2015)[1] was a Dutch lawyer and member of the Dutch resistance during World War II, who was awarded the honorific title Righteous Among the Nations, but returned his medal after an Israeli air strike killed six of his family members.[2]

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]

In 2011, the State of Israel awarded the mother [6] of Zanoli with the Righteous Among the Nations medal.[7][8][9] In 2014, at age 91, Zanoli returned the medal to Israel after an Israeli air strike killed six family members who were living in Gaza; these people were in-laws of his grandniece, a diplomat, who is married to a Palestinian economist.[5]


  1. ^ "Online Familieberichten; Overleden: Hendrikus Antonius (Henk) Zanoli (09-12-2015)". Online-familieberichten.nl. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Resisting Nazis, He Saw Need for Israel. Now He Is Its Critic". The New York Times. 16 August 2014. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  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 2017-01-28.
  4. ^ "Dutchman returns Holocaust medal after family deaths in Gaza". BBC. 16 August 2014. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  5. ^ a b "Dutchman returns Holocaust medal in protest over Gaza". Irishtimes.com. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  6. ^ De Dokwerker Yad Vashem Database onderscheidingen
  7. ^ "The Righteous Among The Nations : Zanoli-Smit,Johanna Jacoba". Db.yadvashem.org. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  8. ^ "Man who helped Jewish kid in WWII returns medal to Israel over Gaza bombing". Nltimes.nl. 2014-08-15. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
  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.