Cornelia de Reuver honoured as Dutch-Australian holocaust hero

Forty years after her death, Cornelia was awarded Righteous Among the Nations, a title that recognises courage and bravery of non-Jews to protect and rescue Jews from the Holocaust during WWII.

Anke and her sister Frouke attended the ceremony to accept the award on their mother’s behalf from Israel’s interim Ambassador to Australia, Jonathan Peled, watched on by members of their immediate and extended family, and dignitaries.

“It was fantastic. The people were so lovely and welcoming. It’s a really special thing for them, because I think they’ve only done quite a limited number of these ceremonies in Australia,” Anke said.

Cornelia was honoured for helping to save the life of Bela van Praagh, a young Jewish girl who was hidden by the Zwart family in the Netherlands during the Holocaust.

Bela, her parents and her siblings lived in the Netherlands when the Nazi army invaded the country in May 1940. The family went into hiding in separate locations, with all four children going to different families. Bela was taken in by Mieke and Paul Brinkman, who were active in the resistance. At the time, Cornelia was working as an au-pair for the the Brinkman’s five children. As the Nazis constantly raided and searched homes of resistance members, Cornelia decided to take Bela to her family home in another village. Bela, along with another young girl, Bea Hartogs joined Cornelia and her 11 siblings and were raised by their parents.

Read the article by Julia Driscoll in the Manning River Times.