John Henry Weidner: Courageous

John Henry Weidner was born October 22, 1912. Both of his parents were Dutch, he grew up in Collonges, France where his father was a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He went to the Universiy of Geneva in Paris, France to study law and business. When he was 23 he established a textile busines in Paris. He was living in Paris when WWII started. He went to live in the ciy of Lyon where he helped orgaizeing qa underground aid to people who where trying to escape from the Naiz. His sister Gabrielle Weidner and a couple others were help coordinate escapes in paris. Weidner was one of the biggest contributors to the French Resistance. He rescued at least 1,000 people. This includes 800 Jews and 100 downed allied airmen.

When he was 28 he was arrested by the Gestapo. The Gestapo where the sercte police for the Nazis. He was brutally interrogated but he never gave up any of the names of the people in there Underground rescue. Another man from there group was also interrogated and torured. After a while the man told the Gestapo the names of many key members in the underground. One of the names mentioned was John’s sister Gavrielle Weidner. The Gestapo arrested a lo of the groups members. Gabrielle Weidner was caught by the Gestapo in Paris and after being interrogated and tortured, they shipped her to Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany where she was forced to work. She later died of starvation. Then John was again arrested by the germans and sent to a concitration camp for slave labor. But during Johns journey to the camp he jumped off the train. He eventally ended up in switerland which was a nuetral contry at the time. Then he went to England where he fought during the final months of the war. When the war was over he served in the Dutch diplomatic service.

When he was 43 he immagrated to America. He settled in Cailfornia and opened up a chain of health food stores. He was awared the United States metal of freedom. At the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. he was one of seven persons chosen to light candles recognizing the rescuers. He has recived many other awards and honors. He died May 21, 1994 in California.