94-yr-old Melbourne woman honoured by Holocaust Centre

May 20, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Centre has held a special function to honour Dutch-born Melbourne resident Constance Koster, who saved the lives of Jewish children during the Second World War.

Sue Hampel (Co-President of the Jewish Holocaust Centre), Constance Koster, Joe De Haan (Dutch Holocaust Survivor), Her Excellency Mrs Annemieke Ruigrok, The Netherlands Ambassador to Australia, Michelle Fineberg (Researcher who applied to Yad Vashem to have Constance recognised as Righteous Amongst the Nations), Michael Danby

As a young woman serving with the Dutch underground in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, Constance Koster saved the lives of Jewish children for several years until late in 1943 when she was discovered by the Gestapo to be working for the underground and was forced to flee.

Her extraordinary acts of courage involved caring for and transporting Jewish infants and children to safe homes where they were ‘adopted’ by Dutch families, thus avoiding the horrific fate of their parents and siblings.

In what can only be deemed to be a bizarre stroke of fate, Melbourne resident Ena Lewis-Krant met Constance Koster to interview her for a Dutch radio program. It was during this meeting that they realised that Ena was one of the children for whom Mrs Koster had risked her life to save during the war.

The Jewish Holocaust Centre has been gathering information for the past three years about the inordinate courage of Mrs Koster, and has presented the information to Yad Vashem, world centre for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, based in Jerusalem

The ceremony was attended by the Netherlands Ambassador to Australia Annemieke Ruigrok.

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