The Jewish Cultural Quarter announced the posthumous awarding of the Jewish Rescuer’s Citation to Alice Cohn. The award is administered by the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust (JRJ) to honor Jews who acted during the Holocaust to save the lives of other Jews.
To learn more about the award, visit our Jewish Rescuer's Citation information page here.
Sunday 29 October 2017, during the opening of the exhibition Identity Cards and Forgeries in the National Holocaust Museum (currently in the process of development) in Amsterdam, the ‘Jewish Rescuer’s Citation’ was posthumously awarded to Alice Cohn. This international award is an initiative of The Committee to Recognition the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust and the B'nai B'rith World Center - Jerusalem, it is conferred to Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust. To date, 171 Jewish resistance fighters in eight countries have been honoured.
Alice Cohn is the first Liechtenstein citizen to receive the award. Cohn receives the award for rescuing a 3-year-old girl from the nursery at Plantage Middenlaan, and most importantly for her long-standing resistance work at the ‘Forgery Agency’ in Utrecht. She forged hundreds of identity cards, food stamps and other so-called ‘wild papers’ while she was in hiding herself as Jewish woman. Thus saving the lives of many. Alice Cohn's daughter and son took receipt of the award in the presence of the 96-year-old Rutger Mathijssen, who founded the ‘Forgery Agency’ together with Alice Cohn and Siem Buddingh.
Identity Cards and Forgeries
Alice Cohn lived during the war years in Utrecht, mostly hidden in an attic room from where she did her resistance work. Because she permanently left the Netherlands after 1945, her history is completely unknown to date. The life and work of Alice Cohn during her stay in the Netherlands is part of the new exhibition in the National Holocaust Museum in formation. In addition to Alice Cohn's story, the exhibition also sheds light on that of Jacob Lentz. Being a civil servant at the Ministry of the Interior, he introduced the term ‘personal identification card’ and obsessively developed a highly sophisticated identity card. With the card bearing a photograph and fingerprint of the holder, is was the most difficult to forge compared to all other occupied countries in Europe. This identity card was introduced at the beginning of World War II. It appeared to be a powerful bureaucratic instrument that led to the death of many. An impressive installation of the visual artist Robert Glas shows how ingeniously Lentz worked. The exhibition is on display until 4 March 2018 inclusive.
National Holocaust Museum in formation
The National Holocaust Museum is a museum that is currently in the process of development. Together with the Hollandsche Schouwburg, the Children's Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue, it constitutes the Jewish Cultural Quarter. The completion of the National Holocaust Museum shall be achieved in stages.
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