Watch: Emotional ceremony at Yad Vashem

Dutch couple recognized as Righteous Among the Nations for hiding Jewish children during the Holocaust.

Hezki Baruch ,

Righteous Among the Nations recognized at Yad Vashem
Righteous Among the Nations recognized at Yad Vashem
Hezki Baruch

Johannes and Yantia Kreil were named Righteous among the nations in an emotional ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on Monday.

The Dutch couple hid two Jewish children in their home during the Holocaust, Gershon Eisenman and Michael Yemenfeld. Michael died about three weeks ago.

The event was held in the presence of members of the families of the survivors, representatives of the Netherlands' embassy in Israel, members of the Committee of Righteous Among the Nations, and relatives and friends of the honorees. The award was given to Sandra Zbanenbuch-Kreil, granddaughter of Yantia Kreil.

The Rescue Story:

Michael Yemenfeld was born in Amsterdam in 1934 to a family of observant Jews of Polish origin.

After the German invasion of the Netherlands, when the Jews were ordered to wear a yellow badge, his family lived in fear. After the start of the deportations in 1942, the father of the family, Moshe, dug a hole under the floor of his house as a hiding place for times of danger.

In 1943 the Germans discovered the family. The parents were interned in the Dutch theater in Amsterdam, and Michael was transferred to a home in front of the theater where the children were kept. Michael's sister, Miriam, born in 1942, was sent to hiding somewhere else and was not arrested along with the rest of the family.

When he was in the home, Michael learned that his parents had been deported to the Westerbork camp. Thanks to the underground group " NV," led by John Theo Woortman, who was recognized as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1981. Michael was smuggled by train from the children's home to South Holland. He then wandered from place to place, from family to family. He learned to adapt, to eat whatever he could and to behave like a Christian child and his name was changed to Kees . Finally he arrived at the Kreil house, where he stayed for a long time.

Johannes and Yantia Kreil lived in Kaatsheuvel with their two children, Harold and Marion, who were slightly older than Michael. Their house was adjacent to the local school where Kreil served as a teacher.

The Kreil family hid another Jewish boy who came to them through the NV group - Gershon Eisenman, born in 1937. Gershon, who became Gerrie, and Michael quickly became friends.

Michael and Gershon stayed at home in the Kreil family to provide shelter for Dutch children orphaned by the bombing of the city of Rotterdam.

Michael and Gershon remained with the Kreil family until the end of the war. Michael's parents perished. After the liberation Gershon's parents came to pick up their son and suggested that Michael join them and live with them. The rescuer, Johannes Kreil, enabled Michael to choose whether to stay with them or leave and live with the Eisenman family. Michael chose to go with the Eisenman family. His sister Miriam, who survived the war, was adopted by the Dutch family who saved her.

After his stay at the Eisenman family, Michael joined Prosdor at Hilversum , a Jewish-Zionist-religious institution, and in 1952 immigrated to Israel, studied, married, and in 1967 his daughter was born. Gershon stayed in Holland, married and had two sons.




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