Jan Zwartendijk



Acting Consul at the Dutch Consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania, was recognized as Righteous Among the Nations on October 6, 1997. Zwartendijk, a businessman, was the Philips representative in Lithuania and was nominated Acting Consul after the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany in May 1940. Faced with the plight of Jewish refugees who were desperately trying to flee, Zwartendijk entered a stamp into their passports or travel documents, saying that no visa was needed for travel to the Dutch colonies of the West Indies, but leaving out the part that to enter the islands, permission was needed from the governor. These bogus visas enabled more than 2,000 Jews to show they had an end destination and thereby obtain a transit visa to Japan and a permit to travel through the Soviet Union. A year later, Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union and most of the Jews in Lithuania were murdered.