Stand for Israel | November 14, 2022
Born in 1900 in the city of Ghent, Belgium, Yvonne Nevejean studied there, as well as the United States, where she earned her master’s degree. Returning to Belgium before World War II, Yvonne began working for the National Agency for Children, which ran children’s homes in her native country, eventually running the organization. And it was as head of the agency, tasked with helping the children of Belgium, that she would do her most important work.
In the summer of 1942, the occupying Nazis began to deport Belgian Jews to concentration camps – and death. Yvonne was approached by the Belgian underground for help. And help, she did. Acting on her own, Yvonne Nevejean used her organization to place Jewish children with Belgian families and in orphanages, churches, and anyplace else where people stood against evil.
Over the course of the war, Yvonne braved threats from the Gestapo and lack of money to continue her brave work. Despite some rescuers being arrested, the work continued. And despite not having the funds to do her work, the determined Christian woman found help from banks, from the exiled Belgian government, and from people of faith in the U.S. This work continued. And in the end, 4,000 Jewish children were saved from certain death.
In 1965, Yad Vashem named Yvonne Nevejean, this educator and Hero of the Holocaust, to be Righteous Among the Nations. And the thousands of lives Yvonne helped save – known as “Yvonne’s Children” – and their descendants surely make sure this Righteous Gentile’s memory is blessed.