Dutch man returns Israeli WWII honor after family killed in Gaza

Dutch man returns Israeli WWII honor after family killed in Gaza
Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:14:40

A 91-year-old Dutch man honored by the Israeli regime for shielding a Jew from the Nazis during World War II has handed back his medal after six of his relatives were killed by Israelis in a Gaza air strike.

Henk Zanoli returned his Righteous among the Nations award to the Israeli ambassador in The Hague this week after an Israeli F-16 destroyed his great niece's Gaza home, killing all inside.

"It is with great sorrow that I am herewith returning the medal I received as an honor and a token of appreciation from Israel for the efforts and risks taken by my mother and her family in saving the life of a Jewish boy during the German occupation," Zanoli said in a letter dated Monday.

According to Zanoli's letter addressed to the Israeli ambassador, the bomb dropped by the Israeli military on July 20 during its massive Gaza offensive, flattened a four-story building at the Bureij Refugee Camp, killing all inside.

"The great-great grandchildren of my mother have lost their grandmother, three uncles, an aunt and a cousin at the hands of the Israeli military," Zanoli said in the letter, published by Israeli newspaper Haaretz and widely circulated in the Dutch media.

"It is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by ... Israel," Zanoli said.

The Zionist regime Embassy in The Hague Friday confirmed it was "familiar with the issue," but declined to comment or give details.

The nonagenarian was too frail to deliver the letter in person, but instead sent it, with the medal, to the Israeli Embassy in The Hague - the same place he received the accolade three years ago.

"For me to hold on to the honor granted to me by Israel under these circumstances, would be an insult ... to those in my family, four generations on, who lost no less than six of their relatives in Gaza," Zanoli said.

Zanoli's family were outspoken opponents of the invading Nazis and his father was murdered in Mauthausen concentration camp. Zanoli's own brother-in-law was executed in the dunes outside The Hague for being in the Dutch Resistance.


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