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Johan Westerweel: Forgotten Hero

History of Sorts

joopJoop Westerweel (January 25, 1899, Zutphen – August 11, 1944, Vught) was a schoolteacher[2] and a Christian anarchist who became a Dutch World War II resistance leader, the head of the Westerweel Group.

Westerweel along with Joachim Simon and other Jewish and colleagues, helped save in the region of 200 to 300 Jewish lives by organizing an escape route, smuggling Jews through Belgium, France and on into neutral Switzerland and Spain. He was arrested on March 10, 1944, after leading a group of Jewish children to safety in Spain, whilst on his way back to the Netherlands at the Dutch/Belgian border. He was executed at Herzogenbusch concentration camp(Kamp Vught) in August 1944.

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Johan (Joop) Westerweel began his teaching career in the Dutch East Indies, but was expelled for refusing to be drafted into the army because of his pacifist convictions. His strict Christian background – his parents belonged to the Derbists…

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