John Hendrik Weidner
The son of a Dutch Seventh-day Adventist minister, Weidner (1912-1994) credited his Adventist faith with giving him the moral courage to resist the Nazis during World War II. In 1941, he founded the “Dutch-Paris” underground to help Jews, Allied pilots, and other persecuted peoples escape from Europe. The operation became one of the largest and most successful of the entire war, saving more than one thousand lives (comparable to Oskar Schindler) including more than 800 Dutch Jews and 100 downed airmen. Weidner’s sister was captured by the Nazis and died in Ravensbrück. He was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to a concentration camp but managed to escape by jumping from a train bound for Germany. Weidner is honored as one of the Righteous Among the Nations at Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem. He was awarded the United States Medal of Freedom and the Legion of Honor (France’s highest award). Weidner’s story is told in Herbert Ford’s 1966 classic, Flee the Captor.