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--=====================_837626820==_ Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" After 20 years of protracted attempts to create awareness of the story of the humanitarian Jan Zwartendijk, it gives me great pleasure to share with my friends across the world the attached synopsis by Boys Town Jerusalem. Ernest G. Heppner --=====================_837626820==_ Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" After 20 years of protracted attempts to create awareness of the story of the humanitarian Jan Zwartendijk, it gives me great pleasure to share with friends across the world the following synopsis by Boys Town Jerusalem. E. G. Heppner Executive Summary: IN TRIBUTE TO AN ACT OF COURAGE AND DECENCY WHAT? The event: Under the joint patronage of the Dutch and Israeli governments, Boys Town Jerusalem will honor Jan Zwartendijk at its International Dinner of Tribute, Monday evening, September 9th, at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Boys Town Jerusalem will confer a posthumous award on Mr. Zwartendijk. At this historic event, we will formally announce the establishment of The Jan Zwartendijk Faculty of Humanitarian Ethics and Values at Boys Town Jerusalem. WHY? Values: Today's globally-linked modern culture is often criticized for its failure to instill fundamental ethical and humanitarian values in our youth, who have little knowledge of or regard for the lessons of the past. That is why Boys Town Jerusalem, one of Israel's leading technological training centers, has chosen to honor a long-overlooked Christian man whose heroic but unsung act saved thousands of Jewish lives fifty-six years ago. His story highlights the best of our commonly shared ethical values. It is of the greatest importance to all men and women of good will, and must be taught to young people throughout the world today. WHO WAS THIS HERO? A seemingly ordinary Dutch businessman named Jan Zwartendijk. The time was July of 1940, during the darkest days of World War II, after the Nazi conquest of Poland and Western Europe. The place was the city of Kaunas (Kovno) in Lithuania, a Baltic state about to be annexed by Stalin's Soviet Union. Jan Zwartendijk found himself acting Dutch Consul in Kovno, thereby in a position to save thousands of lives of innocent Jewish refugees who were trapped between the Nazis on one side and the Communists, now closing in, on the other. Zwartendijk could have turned his back on the plight of those desperate souls, leaving them to the same fate as six million others who would perish in the Holocaust. But his sense of common human decency would not allow him to do that. Despite the risk of retribution from the Nazis when he returned home, Zwartendijk deliberately exceeded his authority, issuing some 2200 bogus visas which, when combined with other documents supplied by the Japanese consul enabled 2200 of those refugees to reach safety and survive the war. Many of those he saved went on to found leading Jewish educational institutions around the world, reviving a Jewish people that was on the brink of extinction, and leading to a worldwide Jewish renaissance in our day. Others emerged to make significant contributions in the professions, arts and virtually all spheres of society. A MODEST MAN: During his lifetime, Jan Zwartendijk sought neither recognition nor honor, because he did not consider his actions to have been extraordinary. Rather, he said, it was simply the decent thing to do. Unfortunately, that compelling sense of decency has been all too rare, not only during the darkest days of World War II, but also in our day. THE MESSAGE: Boys Town is teaching its one thousand students that Mr. Zwartendijk's actions are a model of moral courage for them to emulate as they grow to adulthood and enter our global society. The Jan Zwartendijk Faculty of Humanitarian Ethics and Values at Boys Town Jerusalem will promulgate these ideas as part of the basic curriculum which must be taught in all schools, in Israel and around the world, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, so that today's youth, who will be the leaders of the 21st century, will have learned the vital lessons that Jan Zwartendijk taught us fifty-six years ago with his valiant deeds. --=====================_837626820==_ Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" Ernest --=====================_837626820==_--