Designer who rescued 406 Jews in Nazi-occupied Netherlands dies

Penraat withstood torture to protect fellow members of the resistance; "You do these things because in your mind there is no other way of doing it."

By
July 2, 2006 08:21
1 minute read.
Designer who rescued 406 Jews in Nazi-occupied Netherlands dies

Jaap Penraat 88. (photo credit: )

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Jaap Penraat, an architect and industrial designer who helped 406 Jews sneak out of Nazi-occupied Netherlands and withstood torture to protect fellow members of the resistance, has died, his daughter said. The 88-year-old died June 25 at his home in Catskill, New York. The cause was esophageal cancer, his daughter Noelle Penraat told The New York Times for its Sunday editions. Born in Amsterdam in 1918, Penraat was in his 20s when he began forging identity cards for Jews. After being discovered, he was imprisoned for several months and tortured, but refused to tell his captors anything. After his release from prison, Penraat and other resistance members began disguising Jews as construction workers hired to work on a wall Hitler was building along France's Atlantic Coast. He made 20 trips, accompanying about 20 Jews each time to Lille, France. There they were met by the French underground and transported to neutral Spain. Years later, when he began speaking about his wartime experiences, Penraat said he had simply done what seemed necessary. "You do these things because in your mind there is no other way of doing it," he told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2000. Of the 140,000 Jews who lived in the Netherlands before the Nazis invaded, only about 30,000 survived. Poland was the sole nation to lose a larger percentage of its Jewish population. After the war, Penraat became a noted designer in Amsterdam, moving to the US in 1958. He is survived by three daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His wife of 52 years, Jettie, died in 2003.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF