Righteous Among the Nations: Kees Hos
DURING THE WAR Kees Hos was a lecturer in Fine Art in The Hague in Holland. But he led a double life – he was also active in Holland’s Resistance against the Nazi occupation.
In the summer of 1942, Kees and his wife Tina agreed to shelter their Jewish friends, Hans and Annetje Polak and heir daughter Chaja, at their home in Rijswijk (suburb of the Hague) Holland.
In 1944, the German police raided their house, and Hans and and Annetje were arrested. Tina, who was pregnant, convinced the Nazis that Chaja was her own child, but Kees was later arrested with others from the Resistance movement.
After five months, Kees escaped and tried, unsuccessfully, to rescue Hans and Annetje from Camp Westerbork. Hans was transported to Dachau concentration camp (in Germany) where he died in 1945.
Despite the danger, Kees and Tina also took in another Jewish woman, Marietje Van Rooyen. From 1940 to 1945 he saved a number of Jews, not only through providing a safe house but also through his other activities in the Resistance and by using his artistic talents to forge passports and identification papers.
At the end of the war, Annetje returned from Auschwitz, retrieved Chaja, and remarried. Marietje also survived in Holland.
In 1956, Kees and his wife, Tina, together with their children, Eake and Peter, migrated to New Zealand. Later he came to country Victoria and helped establish a new school of arts at Monash University’s Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education. He still lives in Gippsland and continues to paint.
He received the Medal of Honour from Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and said: “I feel grateful and honoured to be part of such a wonderful Jewish family… I don’t think I did any more than any decent person should have done.”