Elli’s Rescuers Remembered

October 28, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
Read on for article

Jo and Fritz Hakkens hid and protected a Jewish baby in their home town of Amsterdam during World War II. Their family have donated a trophy in their name to be awarded annually for humanitarian endeavour at New Zealand’s Kapiti College.

Marcel Hakkens, Lea Radzinger , Monique Howell, Gloria Hakkens, Elli Mantegari, Caleb Howell, Richard Hakkens

The Hakkens lost touch with baby Elli Szanowski for whose parents Jo worked as a housekeeper. After 65 years of searching, Elli was discovered living in San Paolo, Brazil. She was reunited earlier this year with the children of Jo and Fritz in Kapiti near Wellington where the family settled after the war.

The trophy

The trophy bears the inscription :

To honour Jo and Fritz Hakkens (Kapiti College Parents 1960-68)

Who sheltered Jewish Child  Elli Szanowski in Amsterdam Holland

During the Nazi Occupation WW 2. Elli was a Holocaust survivor

and visited Kapiti College March 2011

and features a large Star of David.

Elli's baby photo

Jo’s daughter Gloria told J-Wire:   “The trophy will be presented on November 8th at Kapiti College Senior Prizegiving to honour Mum and Dad and their selfless risk-taking , hiding Elli.

Because they were Kapiti College Parents and my husband, their son Marcel, and his brother were students there and now their grandchildren and great grandchildren are pupils and I have been teaching there and have Chairperson of the board….and Reg our brother  is assistant Principal….it seemed so appropriate to present this trophy at Kapiti College so that the memory of the Holocaust is never forgotten…..Marcel will present it along with the 2011 Service Awards. It will be presented to a student who has displayed outstanding humanitarian endeavour….”

Elli, now Mantegari, visited the Hakkens with her Los Angeles-based sister Lea Radzinger.

Read the full story of the reunion here.

The trophy will be awarded annually.

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