The Netherlands / Story
Ru Paré was an artist and resistance fighter who saved the lives of 52 Jewish children.
Born Henrica Maria Paré in 1896 in Druten, Ru Paré went to school in Nijmegen and moved to The Hague in 1919. In the 1920s and 1930s, she became a known figure in local artistic circles.
During WWII she resisted the German occupier in various ways. In 1942 she refused to register with the Kultuurkamer, which was made obligatory for all artists during the German occupation. This act of resistance meant, though, that she was not allowed to exhibit or sell her work. More importantly, however, this meant she could dedicate her time to arranging hiding places for Jewish children. To 52 children she was known as Tante Zus (Auntie Zus). She provided money and food stamps for the families and, together with her artist friends, she forged identity cards. Her old, large paint box was given a false bottom, transforming it into a case she could use to clandestinely bring clothes, toys and such, to the families. Although she had contacts in the Dutch national resistance movement aimed at helping people who were hiding from the German occupier, Ru mainly operated independently. All the children she helped hide survived the war.
After the war, Ru Paré kept in touch with some of the children and visited them in Israel. Thanks to an initiative of the children, in 1968 she was named a ‘Righteous Among the Nations’, an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during Second World War.
Ru thought helping the children was self-evident and she rarely talked about it. She died in The Hague in 1972. She was given yet another honour when a street in Druten – from where you have a view of the house on the Waalbandijk where she was born – was named after her.
Ru Paré 113, 6651 AX Druten