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Visas to freedom, an exhibition about Jan Zwartendijk in the Philips Museum


Beginning on this year’s Eindhoven Liberation Day (18 September 2018), the Philips Museum is hosting an exhibition about Jan Zwartendijk titled ‘Visas to freedom’.


As Managing Director of the Philips sales office and temporary Dutch consul in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas, Jan Zwartendijk saved the lives of thousands of Jews in 1940 by providing them with destination visas for the Caribbean island of Curaçao, then part of the Dutch Curaçao and Dependencies colony. Armed with his visas they were able to flee before Lithuania was annexed to the Soviet Union.


‘Visas to freedom’ is an exhibition about this very special man, and includes eyewitness accounts from survivors, most of whom only knew him as ‘’Mr. Radio Philips’. Many later renamed him in their hearts as ’The Angel of Curaçao’. Jan himself did not find his actions heroic, but rather something that anyone would have done in the same position.


It was only after his death that he received, posthumously, the honor he deserved, including bestowment of the title ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ by the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center. In June of this year, in the presence of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, a monument to him was unveiled in Kaunas.

 Official opening by Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma

The ‘Visas to freedom’ exhibition runs from 18 September 2018 to 18 January 2019. On Monday 17 September, it will be officially opened by the mayor of Eindhoven, John Jorritsma.

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