The Righteous Among The Nations
Zanoli-Smit, Johanna Jacoba
The orthodox Pinto family lived in Amsterdam, where father Pinto worked for the Jewish Council, which exempted him initially from deportation. In the spring of 1943, however, when some of those in the same situation were arrested and deported after all, he started to look for hiding places for his family. For his son Elchanan, born in 1932, a number of temporary places did not work out, until a place was found with the Zanoli family in the village of Eemnes, in the central province of Utrecht. The Zanolis had six grown children, some of them no longer living at home. Henk Zanoli, the father, was a senior advisor in the judicial system and active in the underground, had been arrested and taken to the Amersfoort political concentration camp in the Netherlands some months before the arrival of Elchanan. Several of the Zanoli children were active in underground activities. Mother Johanna (Jans) Zanoli knew very well the risks involved by then in hiding a Jewish youngster in her home, especially since her family was already involved in resistance activities. Neverhteless, she felt the moral obligation to give shelter to the Jewish boy, and took care of Elchanan, by then 11 years old, from the end of 1943 until the liberation in May 1945. Elchanan found a warm and loving home with them - he did not go to school, because it was too dangerous and help with the housework.
Elchanan’s parents and siblings had all perished in the camps, and some months after liberation, an uncle came to pick him up and brought him to a Jewish orphanage. From there he immigrated to Israel with a group of youngsters in 1951 and changed his name to Hameiri.
After the war, Johanna Zanoli learned that her husband Henk Sr. had been transferred to Mauthausen, where he perished in February 1945.
On June 22, 2011, Yad Vashem recognized Johanna Jacoba Zanoli as Righteous Among the Nations.