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Ceremony Honoring Hendrikus (Hein) and Martha Snapper as Righteous Among the Nations

The Snapper and de Hartog families pose together after liberation in Naaldwijk The Snapper and de Hartog families pose together after liberation in Naaldwijk
The extended Snapper and de Hartog families reunite at Yad Vashem The extended Snapper and de Hartog families reunite at Yad Vashem
The children of Hein and Martha Snapper rekindle the Eternal Flame in the Hall of Remembrance The children of Hein and Martha Snapper rekindle the Eternal Flame in the Hall of Remembrance
The children of Hein and Martha Snapper receive the medal and certificate of honor of Righteous Among the Nations from Justice Yaacov Turkel The children of Hein and Martha Snapper receive the medal and certificate of honor of Righteous Among the Nations from Justice Yaacov Turkel

In a moving ceremony at Yad Vashem on October 25, 2007, the title of Righteous Among the Nations was posthumously bestowed upon Hendrikus (Hein) and Martha Snapper of Holland, responsible for saving all seven members of the de Hartog family.

The Story

Hein and Martha Snapper lived with their six young children in Naaldwijk, a town in the western part of the Netherlands. As head of the local labor exchange Hein witnessed the discriminatory measures taken against the Jews. Unwilling to remain a bystander while the Jews were being deported from Holland in the summer of 1942, Hein joined the local underground group. In conjunction with his wife, the Snappers took in a Jewish family from Rotterdam, the de Hartogs, who had been desperately trying to find a place to hide. The Snappers employed Rosa de Hartog, the mother of the family, as a housekeeper for their six children, and arranged hiding places for Levy (Leen) and the five children, Annie, Esther, Jacques, Salomon and Truus. Rosa stayed with the Snappers throughout the rest of the war, even after German soldiers were billeted in their home. At great risk, the Snappers arranged for Leen and Truus to sneak over to their home to spend a few hours with Rosa. In May 1943, with the beginning of a massive recruitment of Dutch men between the ages of 18 and 45 for forced labor in Germany, Hein immediately destroyed personal data in the municipal registry, creating new forged documents in their stead. As a result of the efforts of Hein and Martha Snapper, all of the de Hartogs survived the war in their respective hiding places.

The Event

Present at the ceremony were two of the surviving de Hartog children, Truus de Hartog of the Netherlands and Salomon de Hartog of Israel as well as Mia Levy, adopted by the de Hartogs after the war, and five of the children of the rescuers Hein and Martha Snapper, Jerry, Jan, Johan, Hans and Frank, of California and Kentucky in the United States. Also present were Former Supreme Court Justice and Chairman of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations Justice Yaacov Turkel, Director of the Righteous Among the Nations Department Ms. Irena Steinfeldt, 1st Secretary for Social and Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Israel Mr. Bud Rellum, President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism Rabbi Uri Regev, and many members of both the Snapper and de Hartog extended families.

Speaking on behalf of the Snapper children, Johan Snapper said “for our parents, the words ‘Give us today our daily bread’ were more than a prayer, they were a divine commission that mom and dad lived every day of their lives, and that included their fellow man”.

Speaking on behalf of the de Hartog family, Truus referred to the inscription on the medal presented by Yad Vashem to Righteous Among the Nations “He who saves one human being is as if he saves an entire world", relating “this is what my parents specifically always said about the Snappers.”