Zwartendijk keeps mum

We pick up Jonathan Goldstein's version of the Jan Zwartendijk story after his visa-writing campaign ends on August 3, 1940. Within days, he returns home to Nazi-occupied Holland with his wife and children.

For the next several years, Zwartendijk lived in fear that his actions in Kovno would be discovered by the Nazis. At one point he was interrogated by the Gestapo about an unrelated matter, but his actions in Lithuania escaped notice. Needless to say, he did not talk of the incident to anyone.

Goldstein writes that Zwartenkijk didn't learn that many of his beneficiaries actually made it out until 1963, when he was informed of survivors he had helped living in California. In 1976, Ernest Heppner and other survivors succeeded in locating the man most knew only as "Mr. Philips Radio" or literally as "Philip Radio."

That year, he was honored by the Montreal Rabbinical Court and communicated with historian David Kranzler, whose soon to be published history of the Shanghai Jews documented their connection to Zwartendijk. Shortly after, Zwartendijk passed away at age 80.

In 1997, through the efforts of Kranzler, Heppner, Goldstein and others, Zwartendijk achieved recognition as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem.

Goldstein examines Zwartendijk's motivations and concludes that it was simple humanitarian instinct. He also looks at the motivations of the other players in the affair, Chiune Sugihara and the Soviet authority, which he finds more complex.

As for the Dutch government, Goldstein says they knew nothing about the incident until 1963, when Zwartendijk was called in for a discreet interview. Finally, Goldstein tells us that two other Dutch diplomats, A.M. de Jong in Stockholm and N.A.G. de Voogt in Kobe, Japan, subsequently issued their own Curacao visas. The suggestion, though not directly asserted, is that those later cases were inspired by Zwartendijk's example.

More to come on how this connects with our knowledge of the Toulouse Curacao visas.