Żegota was the Polish Council to Aid Jews with the Government Delegation for Poland, an underground Polish resistance organization, part of the Polish Underground State, active 1942–45 in German-occupied Poland. It was the successor to the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews. Richard C. Lukas estimated that 60,000, or about half of the Jews who survived the Holocaust in occupied Poland, were aided in some shape or form by Żegota. Czesław Łuczak estimates the number of aid recipients at about 30,000. Operatives of Żegota worked in extreme circumstances - under threat of death by the Nazi forces, sometimes in the midst of a hostile population, their work required exceptional bravery, many were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations after the war. The Council to Aid Jews, or Żegota, was the continuation of an earlier aid organization, the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews, founded on 27 September 1942 by Polish Catholic activists Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz; the Provisional Committee cared for as many as 180 people, but due to political and financial reasons it was dissolved and replaced by Żegota on December 4, 1942.
Żegota was the brainchild of Henryk Woliński of the Home Army. Kossak-Szczucka wanted Żegota to become an example of a "pure Christian charity", arguing that Jews had their own international charity organizations. Żegota was run by both Jews and non-Jews from a wide range of political movements. Julian Grobelny, an activist in the prewar Polish Socialist Party, was elected as General Secretary, Ferdynand Arczyński - a member of the Polish Democratic Party - as treasurer. Adolf Berman and Leon Feiner represented the Jewish National Committee and the Marxist General Jewish Labour Bund. Both parties operated independently, channeling funds donated by Jewish organizations abroad to Żegota and other underground operations. Other members included the Polish Socialist Party, the Democratic Party and the Catholic Front for the Rebirth of Poland led by Kossak-Szczucka and Witold Bieńkowski, editors of its underground publications; the right-wing National Party refused to take part in the organization.
Kossak-Szczucka went on to act in the Social Self-Help Organization as a liaison between Żegota and Catholic convents and orphanages as well as other public orphanages, which jointly hid many Jewish children. Żegota had around one hundred cells that provided food, medical care and false identification documents to some 4,000 Polish Jews hiding in the "Aryan" side of the German occupation zone. The organization was active chiefly in Warsaw, where it helped some 3,000 Jews who were in hiding, but it provided money and medicines for prisoners in several forced-labor camps, as well as to refugees in Kraków, Lwów. Żegota's activities overlapped to a considerable extent with those of the other major organizations - the Jewish National Committee, which cared for some 5,600 Jews. Together, the three organizations were able to reach some 8,500 of the 28,000 Jews hiding in Warsaw, another 1,000 hiding elsewhere in Poland.Żegota was supported by the Home Army, which provided facilities for forging German identification papers.
Żegota forged about 50,000 other documents such as marriage certificates, baptismal records, death certificates and employment cards to help Jews pass off as Christians.Żegota's children's section in Warsaw, headed by social worker Irena Sendler, cared for 2,500 of the 9,000 Jewish children smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto. Many were placed with foster families, in public orphanages, church orphanages, convents. Żegota sometimes paid for the children's care. At war's end Sendler tried to return the children to their parents, but nearly all of the parents had died at Treblinka.Żegota asked the Polish Government-in-Exile and the Government Delegation for Poland to appeal to the Polish people to help the persecuted Jews. The Government in Exile increased its funding for Żegota throughout the war. Zofia Kossak-Szczucka was arrested in 1943 by a Gestapo unaware of the extent of her underground activities, transported to Auschwitz and liberated in 1944. Under the German occupation, hiding or assisting Jewish refugees was punishable by death.
However, it was no less dangerous due to the risk posed by fellow Poles, some of whom did not see kindly lending help for Jews. Irena Sendler is quoted as saying "during it was simpler to hide a tank under the carpet than shelter a Jewish child."According to Richard C. Lukas, "The number of Poles who perished at the hands of the Germans for aiding Jews" may have been as high as fifty thousand; the Polish Government-in-Exile, based in London, faced immense difficulties funding its institutions in German-occupied Poland. Part of the funds had to be sent in via inefficient airdrops and some could only be delivered late in the war. Despite these difficulties, throughout the war the Polish Government-in-Exile continually increased its funding for Żegota: the Polish Government's monthly support was increased from 30,000 złoty to 338,000 złoty in May 1944, to 1,000,000 złoty by war's end; the Polish Government's overall financial contribution to Żegota and Jewish organizations came to 37,400,000 złoty, 1,000,000 dollars, 200,000 Swiss francs (see financial details be
Prince Constantin Jean Lars Anthony Démétrius Karadja was a Romanian diplomat, barrister-at-law, bibliographer and honorary member of the Romanian Academy. He was a member of the Caradja aristocratic family. Constantin was the son of Prince Jean Karadja Pasha and Marie Louise Smith of Sweden, aka Princess Mary Karadja. In 1916 Constantin married a distant relative, Princess Marcela Elena Caradja of Romania, they had two children: Prince Jean Aristide Constantin Georges Caradja, married to Minna Frieda Auguste Starke. Princess Marie–Marcelle Nadèje Karadja. Barrister at law in England with studies at Framlingham College and London, he spoke English, Romanian, French and Norwegian, as well as Latin and Greek. Being a European by education, Constantin Karadja established himself in Romania, he was naturalized and joined the diplomatic service in 1920, serving Romania in missions as consul in Budapest, consul general in Stockholm and Berlin. With additional solid competences in economics, he worked as a counsel in the Ministry of Finances, participated 1927 as chief of the Romanian delegation to the International Economic Conference in Geneva.
He composed a consular manual. Being a passionate bibliophile and collector, Constantin Karadja founded one of the most important collections of old and rare books in South-East Europe, which nowadays can be found in the National Library and the Romanian Academy in Bucharest. Being accredited as consul general in Berlin and in parallel to his diplomatic activities, he continued his research concerning incunabula, realizing in this period the “List of incunabulum on the Romanian territory”, he published important works regarding the ancient history of Romania. Using unknown sources discovered by his own research activities, he released in 1934 his famous work entitled “The oldest sources published on Romanian history”. In 1940 he presented to the Romanian Academy the first mentions of Dacia and the Romanians discovered in two incunabula from 1454 and 1472. More than half of the numerous scientific articles of Constantin Karadja were published in the three journals of Nicolae Iorga; as a result of his activity as bibliographer and researcher, he was admitted as honorary member of the Romanian Academy on the 3 June 1946.
His letter of recommendation was signed by eighteen notable academicians, including Ion Nistor, Alexandru Lapedatu, Dimitrie Pompeiu, Gheorghe Spacu, Emil Racoviţă, Iorgu Iordan, Constantin Ion Parhon, Nicolae Bănescu, Constantin Rădulescu-Motru, Ştefan Ciobanu, Radu R. Rosetti, Silviu Dragomir, he was removed from the Academy by the communist regime two years in 1948. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, he was re-established in 1990. Influenced by his humanistic and juridical education, Constantin Karadja followed the principles of international law respecting human rights, he did not cede in front of political pressures, “doctrines” en vogue or potential “opportunities”, but engaged himself with perseverance in the protection of the rights of Romanian citizens living abroad, regardless of ethnicity or religion. As the Romanian consul general in Berlin and the director of the consular department of the Romanian Foreign Ministry, “in both functions, during one and a half decades, Karadja developed an intense activity in order to save Romanian Jews surprised by the war in the kingdom of death”.
“Tens of thousands owe their lives to his exceptional persistency, abnegation and amplitude marking his long-term engagement in favour of the Romanian Jews stranded under the Nazi regime." Yosef Govrin, former Israeli ambassador writes that it "required extraordinary courage to act as he did through diplomatic means" as he was putting his career in consequent jeopardy. Shortly after his dismissal on October 17, 1944, he was re-appointed by the new foreign minister, Constantin Vişoianu. On September 1, 1947 he was dismissed again from the ministry, this time permanently; this was one of the last measures taken by minister Gheorghe Tătărescu, who one month was himself forced to leave his post to Ana Pauker. Subsequently, the payment of Karadja's pension was refused. In an atmosphere of incertitude and menace, he died on December 28, 1950. On 15 September 2005, Constantin Karadja received from the Yad Vashem institute in Jerusalem posthumously the title “Righteous Among the Nations” during a ceremony in the Israeli embassy in Berlin and in presence of the Romanian ambassador.
His diplomatic efforts have been presented in detail on the basis of numerous letters, reports etc. which he sent to his superiors including Mihai Antonescu. These documents can be found in the archive of the Romanian foreign ministry and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C, they are the means by which Karadja saved over 51,000 persons from deportation and extermination—Jews from parts of Europe dominated by the Nazis from Germany and Hungary, but from Greece and Italy. Caradja Eugène Rizo Rangabé, Livre d'Or de la Noblesse Phanariote et de Familles Princières de Valachie et de Moldavie, Athens, 1892 Constantin I. Karadja: „Incunabule povestind despre cruzimile lui Vlad Ţepes“ Cluj, Cartea Românească 1931, în volumul „Inchinare lui Nicolae Iorga cu prilejul împlinirii vârstei de 60 ani“ Constantin I. Karadja: „Alte Bibliotheken der Siebenbürger Sachsen und ihre Wiegendrucke“, Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, 1941, p. 196–207
Giorgio Perlasca was an Italian businessman and former fascist who, with the collaboration of official diplomats, posed as the Spanish consul-general to Hungary in the winter of 1944, saved 5,218 Jews from deportation to Nazi Germany death camps in eastern Europe. Giorgio Perlasca grew up in Maserà, province of Padua, Italy. During the 1920s, he became a supporter of Fascism, fighting in East Africa during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, in the Spanish Civil War for the Nationalist Corpo Truppe Volontarie; as a gratitude safe conduct for his service in Spain, he was awarded a diplomatic mission from Francisco Franco. Perlasca grew disillusioned with Fascism, in particular due to Benito Mussolini's alliance with Nazism and adoption of the Italian Racial Laws, that came into force in 1938. During the initial phase of World War II, he worked at procuring supplies for the Italian Army in the Balkans, he was appointed as an official delegate of the Italian government with diplomatic status and sent to Eastern Europe with the mission of buying meat for the Italian army fighting on the Russian front.
On 8 September 1943, Italy surrendered to the Allied forces. Italians had to choose whether to join Benito Mussolini's newly formed Italian Social Republic, fascist, or stay loyal to the King and join the Allies' side. Perlasca chose the latter. In Budapest, he was confined to a castle reserved for diplomats. After a few months, he used a medical pass that allowed him to travel within Hungary and he requested political asylum at the Spanish Embassy, he took advantage of his status as a veteran of the Spanish war. He adopted the first name of "Jorge" and, since Spain was neutral in the war, he became a free man. Perlasca worked with the Spanish Chargé d'Affaires, Ángel Sanz Briz, other diplomats of neutral states to smuggle Jews out of Hungary; the system he devised consisted of furnishing'protection cards' which placed Jews under the guardianship of various neutral states. He helped Jews find refuge in protected houses under the control of various embassies, which had extraterritorial conventions that gave them an equivalent to sovereignty.
They could provide asylum for Jews. When Sanz Briz was removed from Hungary to Switzerland in November 1944, he invited Perlasca to accompany him to safety. However, Perlasca chose to remain in Hungary; the Hungarian government ordered the Spanish Embassy building and the extraterritorial houses where the Jews took refuge to be cleared out. Perlasca made the false announcement that Sanz Briz was due to return from a short leave, that he had been appointed his deputy for the meantime. Throughout the winter, Perlasca was active in hiding and feeding thousands of Jews in Budapest, he continued issuing safe conduct passes, on the basis of a Spanish law passed in 1924 that granted citizenship to Jews of Sephardic origin. In December 1944, Perlasca rescued two boys from being herded onto a freight train in defiance of a German lieutenant colonel on the scene; the Swedish diplomat-rescuer Raoul Wallenberg present there told Perlasca that the officer who had challenged him was Adolf Eichmann. During 45 days period from 1 December 1944 to 16 January 1945, Perlasca helped save more than 5,000 Jews, about four times more than saved by Oskar Schindler.
According to Perlasca, he prevented the execution of a plan to blow up the Budapest ghetto with around 60,000 people in it, the way the Nazis did in Warsaw. While he was posing as the Spanish consul-general, he heard of the intention to burn down the ghetto. Shocked and incredulous, he asked for a direct hearing with the Hungarian interior minister Gábor Vajna, threatened him with legal and economic measures against the "3000 Hungarian citizens" declared by Perlasca as residents of Spain, unless he withdraws the horrible project. If not for this threat, it was called off once Perlasca offered to rescue Vajna and his family from Hungary, before the advancing Soviet Army reach Budapest. After the war, Perlasca returned to Italy, he did not talk about his actions in Hungary to anyone, including his family, came back to his humble life. In 1987, a group of Hungarian Jews whom he had saved found him, after searching for him for 42 years in Spain. There was publicity at the time, Perlasca became noted for his heroic deeds.
Enrico Deaglio wrote an account of his remarkable single-handed valour, Banality of Goodness, which became a bestseller. The book was adapted as a made-for-TV film, Perlasca – Un eroe Italiano, by the RAI national television corporation. Giorgio Perlasca died of a heart attack in 1992. In 1987 Perlasca was made an honorary citizen of Israel and was honored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum with a stele and a 10,000 tree forest. Perlasca has been designated by Israel as a Righteous Among the Nations in 1989 for his efforts Star of Merit, Hungary, 1989 Knesset Medal, Israel, 1989 Town Seal of Padova, Italy, 1989 Wallenberg Medal, United States, 1990 Medal of Remembrance of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, USA, 1990 Invitation to lay the first stone of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, USA, 1990 Knight Grand Cross, Spain, 1991 1st Class, Knight Grand Cross, 1991 Gold Medal for Civil Bravery, 1992 A bust of Perlasca was created in Budapest; as part of its Righteous Among the Nations project, the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra commissioned an original orchestral piece, "His Finest Hour", from composer Moshe Zorman in tribute to Perlasca.
The piece premiered December 10, 2014 in Raanana in the presence of Perlasca's son Franco and daughter-in-law Luciana Amadia. Insi
Johan van Hulst
Johan Willem van Hulst was a Dutch school director, university professor and politician. In 1943, with the help of the Dutch resistance and students of the nearby University of Amsterdam, he was instrumental in saving over 600 Jewish children from the nursery of the Hollandsche Schouwburg who were destined for deportation to Nazi concentration camps. For his humanitarian actions he received the Yad Vashem distinction Righteous Among the Nations from the State of Israel in 1973. Van Hulst served as Senator of the Netherlands from July 1956 to June 1981, he was elected to be the parliamentary leader of the Christian Historical Union in the Senate from December 1968 until June 1977, when the CHU merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal CDA. He became the first CDA Leader in the Senate. Van Hulst served as the party chair of the CHU from September 1969 until February 1972, he was a Member of the European Parliament for the Christian Democratic Group from October 1961 until September 1968. He was an emeritus professor of pedagogy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a prolific author with more than a hundred publications.
He was a noted chess player. Van Hulst was born on 28 January 1911 in Amsterdam, the son of Gerrit van Hulst and Geertruida Hofman, he studied pedagogy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In the meantime he worked as a teacher and mentor in Oudewater and Purmerend. In 1942 van Hulst was the director of the Reformed Teacher Training College, a Protestant religious seminary at Plantage Middenlaan 27, Amsterdam. Across the street at Plantage Middenlaan 24 was the Hollandse Schouwberg theatre, the main clearing site for the Jews living in Amsterdam, issued deportation notices by the Nazi government. Children who arrived at the Schouwberg were separated from their families and sent to the neighbouring crèche at Plantage Middenlaan 31 run by Henriëtte Pimentel; the créche shared a back garden with the college. Starting in January 1943, Pimentel and Walter Süskind, a German Jew, appointed by the Nazis to run the Hollandsche Schouwberg operation, began canvassing potential adoptive families for physical descriptions of children who could fit into their families without detection.
Once the children's parents had agreed, the names of the children to be rescued were removed from the Nazi's registry of Jews who had passed through the Schouwberg theatre. Working with Pimentel, Süskind and dozens of other volunteers, Van Hulst arranged for the children to be spirited over the hedge separating the neighbouring back yards of the crèche and the teachers' college assisted by the teachers-in-training or local university students; when the time came to move the rescued children and babies away from the school, they would be hidden in containers such as bags, sacks or laundry baskets. Numerous methods were used to move the hidden children from the school. In one method, the operation's helpers would wait for the moment a tram passed, blocking the view of Nazi guards at the facing Hollandsche Schouwberg, to cycle away with the hidden child; the operation came to a halt on 29 September 1943 when the Nazis sent Pimentel and 100 children from the crèche to Nazi concentration camps. Decades Van Hulst described his experience: "Now try to imagine 80, 90 70 or 100 children standing there, you have to decide which children to take with you.
That was the most difficult day of my life. You know for a fact. I took 12 with me. On I asked myself: ‘Why not 13?'" Van Hulst thought twelve was the right number, otherwise the Germans would notice his plan and shut it down. In total, the operation had rescued children. Van Hulst received the Yad Vashem distinction in 1973. During a visit to the Netherlands in 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of Van Hulst: "We say, those who save one life saves a universe. You saved hundreds of universes. I want to thank you in the name of the Jewish people, but in the name of humanity." Van Hulst replied, talking about the children he could not save: "I only can hope the angels may conduct you into paradise."In 2016, the former Reformed Teacher Training College became the Dutch National Holocaust Museum. Shortly before his 107th birthday in 2018, Van Hulst gave an interview on Dutch television, talking about his experiences during the war. Van Hulst served a member of the Senate of the Netherlands from 1956 to 1981 and from 1961 until 1968 he was a Member of the European Parliament.
He was Chairman of the CHU from 1969 until 1972. From 1972 until 1981 Van Hulst was group leader in the Senate. Van Hulst was elected as Chairman of the CHU on 5 October 1968 during the CHU party conference of 1968. Van Hulst was tasked with preparing for the upcoming general election of 1971. Van Hulst was an active chess player. At the age of 95 he won the Corus Chess Tournament for former politicians, he won it again in 2010. According to René van der Linden, who served as President of the Senate of the Netherlands, Van Hulst was the first former member of the Senate to reach the age of 100 since the establishment of the upper house in 1815. On 22 March 2018, Van Hulst died at the age of 107. Amsterdam's bridge number 233 was dedicated to Van Hulst shortly after his death; the Johan van Hulstbrug is located in the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam-Centrum, near the school he managed. U. S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra stated after Van Hulst died: "Mister Van Hulst is an inspiration for how one person can make a real difference in the darkest of times."
The Senate of the Netherlands commemorated Mr. Van Huls
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is estimated at 1.770 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres, while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres. Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, a significant cultural and economic hub, its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once described as the'Paris of the North', Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world until World War II. Bombed at the start of the German invasion in 1939, the city withstood a siege for which it was awarded Poland's highest military decoration for heroism, the Virtuti Militari. Deportations of the Jewish population to concentration camps led to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 and the destruction of the Ghetto after a month of combat.
A general Warsaw Uprising between August and October 1944 led to greater devastation and systematic razing by the Germans in advance of the Vistula–Oder Offensive. Warsaw gained the new title of Phoenix City because of its extensive history and complete reconstruction after World War II, which had left over 85% of its buildings in ruins. Warsaw is one of Europe's most dynamic metropolitan cities. In 2012 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Warsaw as the 32nd most liveable city in the world. In 2017 the city came 4th in the "Business-friendly" category and 8th in "Human capital and life style", it was ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Central and Eastern Europe. The city is a significant centre of research and development, Business process outsourcing, Information technology outsourcing, as well as of the Polish media industry; the Warsaw Stock Exchange is most important in Central and Eastern Europe. Frontex, the European Union agency for external border security as well as ODIHR, one of the principal institutions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have their headquarters in Warsaw.
Together with Frankfurt and Paris, Warsaw is one of the cities with the highest number of skyscrapers in the European Union. The city is the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Warsaw, the Warsaw Polytechnic, the National Museum, the Great Theatre—National Opera, the largest of its kind in the world, the Zachęta National Gallery of Art; the picturesque Old Town of Warsaw, which represents examples of nearly every European architectural style and historical period, was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. Other main architectural attractions include the Castle Square with the Royal Castle and the iconic King Sigismund's Column, the Wilanów Palace, the Łazienki Palace, St. John's Cathedral, Main Market Square, palaces and mansions all displaying a richness of colour and detail. Warsaw is positioning itself as Central and Eastern Europe’s chic cultural capital with thriving art and club scenes and serious restaurants, with around a quarter of the city's area occupied by parks.
Warsaw's name in the Polish language is Warszawa. Other previous spellings of the name may have included Werszewa. According to some sources, the origin of the name is unknown. In Pre-Slavic toponomastic layer of Northern Mazovia: corrections and addenda, it is stated that the toponymy of northern Mazovia tends to have unclear etymology. Warszawa was the name of a fishing village. According to one theory Warszawa means "belonging to Warsz", Warsz being a shortened form of the masculine name of Slavic origin Warcisław; however the ending -awa is unusual for a big city. Folk etymology attributes the city name to a fisherman and his wife, Sawa. According to legend, Sawa was a mermaid living in the Vistula River. In actuality, Warsz was a 12th/13th-century nobleman who owned a village located at the modern-day site of the Mariensztat neighbourhood. See the Vršovci family which had escaped to Poland; the official city name in full is miasto stołeczne Warszawa. A native or resident of Warsaw is known as a Varsovian – in Polish warszawiak, warszawianka and warszawianie.
Other names for Warsaw include Varsovia and Varsóvia, Varsavia, Warschau, װאַרשע /Varshe, Varšuva, Varsó and Varšava The first fortified settlements on the site of today's Warsaw were located in Bródno and Jazdów. After Jazdów was raided by nearby clans and dukes, a new similar settlement was established on the site of a small fishing village called Warszowa; the Prince of Płock, Bolesław II of Masovia, established this settlement, the modern-day Warsaw, in about 1300. In the beginning of the 14th century it became one of the seats of the Dukes of Masovia, becoming the official capital of the Masovian Duchy in 1413. 14th-century Warsaw's economy rested on crafts and trade. Upon the extinction of the local ducal line, the duchy was reincorporated into the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland in 1526. In 1529, Warsaw for the first time became the seat of th
Helen of Greece and Denmark
Helen of Greece and Denmark, was a queen mother of Romania during the reign of her son King Michael. She was noted for her humanitarian efforts to save Romanian Jews during World War II, which led to her being awarded with the honorary title of Righteous Among the Nations in 1993. Daughter of King Constantine I of Greece and his wife Sophia of Prussia, Princess Helen spent her childhood in Greece, Great Britain and Germany; the outbreak of World War I and the overthrow of her father by the Allies in 1917 permanently marked her and separated her from her favorite brother, the young Alexander I of Greece. Exiled in Switzerland along with most members of the royal family, Helen spent several months caring for her father, plagued by disease and depression. In 1920, the princess met Carol, crown prince of Romania, who asked her hand in marriage. Despite the bad reputation of the prince, Helen accepted and moved to Romania, where she soon gave birth to their only son, Prince Michael, in 1921; the situation of her family, continued to worry Helen, who made several trips abroad to visit her parents when they did not reside with her in Bucharest.
In doing this, she distanced herself from her husband, whose multiple affairs ended when he fell in love with Magda Lupescu in 1924. In 1925, Prince Carol abandoned his wife and renounced the throne in order to live with his mistress. Distraught, Helen tried to persuade her husband to return to her but she accepted the divorce in 1928. In the meanwhile, Helen was proclaimed "Queen Mother of Romania" in 1927, as her son Michael ascended to the throne under the regency of his uncle Prince Nicholas. However, the political situation in Romania was complicated and Carol took advantage of the increased instability to return to Bucharest in 1930 and be acclaimed as king. Soon, the new ruler forced his ex-wife into exile and only authorized her to see their son two months per year. In these circumstances, Helen moved to Villa Sparta at Tuscany. Always close to her family, she hosted her sisters Irene and Katherine and brother Paul, who stayed with her intermittently until the restoration of the Greek monarchy in 1935.
The outbreak of World War II, the deposition of Carol II and the subsequent dismemberment of Greater Romania in 1940, brought Helen back to be with her son in Bucharest. Subject to the dictatorship of General Antonescu and vigilance of Nazi Germany, the king and his mother were cautious in their dealings with the fascist regime, they did not show their opposition to the participation of Romania in the invasion of the Soviet Union and the deportation of Jews. King Michael organized a coup against Antonescu on 23 August 1944 and Romania turned against the Axis powers. For Helen and her son, the post-war period was marked by the interference of the Soviet Union in the Romanian political life. In March 1945, the king was forced to accept a communist government headed by Petru Groza while the following year, the general elections confirmed the hegemony of the PCR in the country. Michael I was forced to abdicate on 30 December 1947 and the royal family took the path of exile. Helen returned to the Villa Sparta, where she divided her time among her family and the study of Italian art.
Concerned about her finances, Helen left Italy for Switzerland in 1979 and died three years with her son at her side. The third child and eldest daughter of Crown Prince Constantine of Greece and Princess Sophia of Prussia, Helen was born on 2 May 1896 in Athens during the reign of her grandfather, King George I. From birth, she received the nickname "Sitta" as her brother Alexander failed to pronounce the English word "sister". Growing up, Helen developed a special affection for Alexander, only three years her senior. Helen spent most of her childhood in the Greek capital; every summer, the princess and her family, travelled to the Hellenic Mediterranean aboard the royal yacht Amphitrite or visited Sophia's mother, the Dowager Empress Victoria in Germany. From the age of 8, Helen began to spend part of the summer in Great Britain, in the regions of Seaford and Eastbourne; the princess grew up in an anglophile environment, among a cohort of British tutors and governesses, including Miss Nichols, who took special care of her.
On 28 August 1909 a group of Greek officers, known as the "Military League," organized a coup d'état against the government of King George I, Helen's grandfather. While declaring to be monarchists, the League members, led by Nikolaos Zorbas, asked the king to dismiss his son from military posts; this was to protect the Diadochos from the jealousy that could stem from his friendship with some soldiers. But the reality was quite different: the officers blamed Constantine for the defeat of Greece against the Ottoman Empire during the Thirty Days' War of 1897; the situation was so tense that the sons of George I were forced to resign from their military posts to save their father from the shame of their being expelled. The Diadochos decided to leave Greece with his wife and children. For several months, the family moved to the Schloss Friedrichshof at Kronberg in Germany, it was the first of many times. After much tension, the political situation subsided in Greece and Constantine and his family were allowed to return to their homeland.
In 1911, the Diadochos was restored in his military duties by the Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos. A year the First Balkan War broke out, which allowed Greece to annex large territories in Mac
Johan Hendrik Weidner
Johan Hendrik Weidner was a decorated Dutch hero of World War II. Johan Hendrik Weidner Jr. was born in Brussels to Dutch parents. Although his birth name was Johan Hendrik, he used to call himself "Jean" and in the U. S. "John". He was the eldest of four children, grew up in Switzerland, near the French border at Collonges-sous-Salève - a village in the French department of Haute-Savoie, where his father taught Latin and Greek at the Seventh-day Adventist Church seminary. Following his education at French public schools, he attended basic courses at the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary in Collonges-sous-Salève, his father Johan Hendrik Weidner Sr. who studied at the University of Geneva, had been a minister for the Seventh-day Adventists in Brussels and Switzerland, hoped Jean would follow in his footsteps. To his father's regret, he decided to go into business, in 1935 he established a textile import/export business in Paris, France. Around this time he went to Geneva to attend sessions of the League of Nations, saw firsthand how ineffective that body was in preventing the outbreak of war in 1939.
At the outbreak of World War II Jean was living in Paris. With the subsequent German occupation of France he fled with several others from Paris to Lyon in the unoccupied part of France; because he had to abandon his Parisian business, he began a new business in Lyon. In 1941, Jean founded "Dutch-Paris", an underground network of which the location of his Lyonnaise textile business soon became its headquarters. In order to get passes to go in and out of the Swiss frontier zone, he set up a second textile shop in Annecy at the end of 1942. Dutch-Paris became one of the largest and most successful underground networks for people persecuted for faith or race, Allied pilots, persons of great Dutch importance to help them escape via Switzerland and Spain; this escape route was used for smuggling documents. In the Netherlands this message line was known as "The Swiss Way". In its heyday, 300 people were part of this underground network, of which about 150 people were arrested. 40 people were slain or died from the effects of captivity, including his sister who helped to coordinate escapes from Paris.
The escape route has contributed to the French Resistance, is responsible for the rescue of more than 1,080 people, including 800 Dutch Jews and more than 112 downed Allied pilots. Jean was one of the most sought after underground leaders of France, for whom the Gestapo at one time offered a reward of five million francs for his arrest. In February 1944, a young female courier was arrested by the French police and extradited to the Gestapo. Against all rules, she had a notebook with her containing names and addresses of Dutch-Paris members, she was brutally interrogated by a guard that held her head under cold water until she nearly drowned. Under torture she revealed many names of key members of the underground network; as a result, a large number of Dutch-Paris members were arrested. The name of Jean's sister Gabrielle Weidner was among the names listed in the notepad, she was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned at the Fresnes prison in Paris, because it was hoped for that her comrades would try to free her.
In Fresnes she was treated well, but when this ploy did not work, she was shipped to Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. She died of the effects of malnutrition, only a few days after liberation by the Russians. During the occupation, Jean was arrested by both French gendarmerie and French Milice, including the Swiss border police; the French gendarmerie beat him up brutally, but they had to release him due to lack of evidence. In another arrest by the Milice in Toulouse he was tortured, but he managed to escape before they could transfer him to the Gestapo; the Gestapo were never able to get a hold of him. In November 1944, after the Liberation of France Weidner was invited to London by Queen Wilhelmina, to come to tell her about the "Dutch-Paris" escape route, the situation of Dutch civilians in France and Belgium. In the same year he was made a Captain in the Dutch Armed Forces, after which he could be in charge of the Dutch Security Service based in Paris, his service was in charge of vetting all the Dutch citizens in France and Belgium to look for any that collaborated with the Germans.
The Bureau of National Security, the Department of Justice, the Dutch Embassy in Paris all claimed authority for Netherlands Security Service. Therefore, it has never become clear under whose direction he fell. In mid 1946, Jean was dismissed by the Dutch government, arguing that they needed a professional policeman on the post. After his work with the security he picked up the threads of normal life again, returned to his import/export textile business. In 1955 he emigrated to the United States settling in California where from 1958 he and his wife Naomi operated a chain of health food stores. For his War efforts, Weidner was awarded the United States Medal of Freedom with Gold Palm, made an Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire, an Officer in the Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau; the French Government honored him with the Croix de Guerre and Médaille de la Résistance and the Légion d'honneur. The Belgian Government made him an Officer of the Order of Leopold. At the 1993 opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.
C. he was one of seven persons chosen to light candles recognizing the rescuers. The Israeli government honored Weidner as one of the gentiles designated as Righteous Among the Nations at Israel's national Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem where a grove of trees was planted in his name on the Hill of Rem