Jaap Penraat

Jaap Penraat

Birth
Amsterdam, Amsterdam Municipality, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Death 25 Jun 2006 (aged 88)
Catskill, Greene County, New York, USA
Burial Catskill, Greene County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 14798966 · View Source
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Architect and Industrial Engineer, he is remembered by the 406 Jews that he helped escape Nazi occupied Netherlands during World War II. Born in the Netherlands, he was 18 years old when the German Army conquered neutral Netherlands in 1940. Shocked when the Nazis began rounding up his Jewish neighbors, he joined the Resistance, and began forging identity cards for Jews, showing them to be ordinary Dutch citizens, rather than Jews as the German issued identity cards showed. Several months later, he was arrested, held in prison and tortured for several months, but refused to divulge any information. Eventually, the German authorities released him, and he quickly rejoined the Resistance, where they disguised Jews as construction workers to obtain German travel permits to a phony French construction site. Once in France, Penraat arranged for their transfer to French Resistance fighters, who then moved the Jews to neutral Spain. Penraat made over 20 trips to France ferrying Dutch Jews to the French Underground; had he been discovered, he would have been executed immediately. After the war, Penraat became an industrial designer in Amsterdam, then in 1958, moved to the United States, where he continued in industrial design. When interviewed by the Pittsbergh Post-Gazette why he helped the Jews in Holland when so many of his countrymen did not, he replied that it had seemed necessary. "You do these things because in your mind, there is no other way of doing it." In June 1998, Penraat was honored with the Israeli Medal of the Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashem, for his efforts to save Dutch Jews. His story is chronicalled in the book, "Forging Freedom" by Hudson Talbott. Penraat died in his home in Catskill, NY, from esophageal cancer at the age of 88. (Bio by Kit and Morgan Benson)

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Kit and Morgan Benson
  • Added: 2 Jul 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 14798966
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jaap Penraat (11 Apr 1918–25 Jun 2006), Find a Grave Memorial no. 14798966, citing Town of Catskill Cemetery, Catskill, Greene County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .