Jan van Zutphen
- Category : 1863-births
- Type : MS
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Endeavor 2
Dutch trade unionist of the diamond workers' union and founder and chairman of sanatorium Zonnestraal ('Sunray' Sanatorium) in Hilversum, now on the Unesco World heritage list.
"Ome Jan" (Uncle Jan) as he was called, has been recognized as an inspiring fighter for the rights of workers and against tuberculosis. He is associated with the so-called 'Copper Stems Fund' - to the stalks of worn tools that were made to cash in order to build up tbc care of the labor union.
Jan van Zutphen came from a working-class family, his father Johannes Anthonius van Zutphen (ca 1832) was a wine buyer's assistant. His mother was Elisabeth Maria Grossenbach (ca1829 , Utrecht ). Although born in Utrecht, Van Zutphen grew up in the Kattenburg neighbourhood in Amsterdam . There he became confronted with the tough life of workers at an early age and at the age of six he already made extra family income by unravelling the ropes rigged by sea water together with other children in the morning. Deep poverty went over to the family, because Van Zutphen's father had regular work as a servant. But his mother and his sister died of TB when he was ten and eleven years old, respectively. Jan van Zutphen and his brother were then raised in in a strict Calvinistic way in another family, where he developed a wholehearted aversion to religious fanaticism, especially the Calvinistic doctrine that death and poverty were the result of sins against G'd.
Van Zutphen started working as a trainee carpenter in the construction industry and attended the evening school where he learned project drawings, Dutch and history. After a fall from a jetty, he had to rest for nine months at the age of thirteen, and then his father let him learn for a diamond cutter . Van Zutphen turned out to have talent and was brilliant grinding boss at the age of twenty.
He married Emmetje Lamme in 1887, they had two daughters and two sons. After his wife died of tuberculosis in 1911, Van Zutphen married Bernardina Johanna Greger in 1919, they had a daughter and a son.
In 1883 he became a member of the Sociaal-Democratische Bond (SDB, Social Democratic Association), despite the fact that he had a decent and regular income as a sharpener. At the age of 25 he became chairman of the Social Democratic Diamond Workers Society in 1888, a department of the SDB with 15 members. A year later, the department was privatized under the name Nederlandsche Diamantbewerkers Vereeniging (Dutch Diamond Workers Association), which tried to mobilise the mostly Jewish diamond workers of Amsterdam by releasing the socialist character.
Although Van Zutphen had not been active until then, in November 1894 he took charge of the diamond polishing strike, in which around 10,000 colleagues took part. The fact that the Jewish Henri Polak was on the strike committee ensured that the Jewish diamond grinders also joined the strike. During the strike Van Zutphen and Polak decided to establish a general diamond workers' union, the Algemeene Nederlandsche Diamantbewerkersbond (ANDB). Polak assumed the presidency and from 1898 to 1928 Van Zutphen would be the second secretary of the company. In addition, from 1905 Van Zutphen was a member of the daily management of the World Association of Diamond Workers.
In contrast to the more intellectual Polak, Van Zutphen was a man of the people ("uncle Jan"), who was also admired by the Belgian diamond cutters in Antwerp. In 1904, he was forced to be a striker of the Antwerp diamond cutters, because Jan Bartels , the chairman of the Belgian General Diamond Workers' Union was imprisoned, and the secretary Jef Groesser had gone to the Netherlands to avoid imprisonment. Van Zutphen would also continue to play an important role in the Belgian trade union movement, among other things by solving a tragic conflict with Camille Huysmans in 1910 , and in 1913 again with Huysmans to join the ranks among the divided Antwerp diamond workers.
In 1905 Van Zutphen stood at the cradle of the Nederlandsch Verbond van Vakvereenigingen (NVV) and when Polak put down his public functions in 1909 after the Deventer congress , Van Zutphen succeeded him in the daily management of the NVV. In addition, from 1907 he had been a SDAP representative in the Provincial Statesfrom North Holland. He was also a city councilor in Amsterdam on behalf of the SDAP for a year, but more than politics drew him into trade union work, especially looking for ways to provide direct help to the elderly, widows and orphans, and neglected children. The number of management positions of social institutions increased, as Van Zutphen was involved in the Committee of the Congress of Child Protection of the National Council of Women, the Holiday Children's Festival, the Guardianship Council, the Foundation Amsterdam Colonization of Children, the Civil Society Board , the Committee Civil Civil Service of Home-sitting Poor, the Central to represent the interests of nerve and soul patients, the General Support Committee 1914 and the Netherlands Committee for Rheumatoid Control.
When his friend Johan Harttorff was hit by tuberculosis in 1898 , Van Zutphen, who had lost his mother and sister to this disease, started a fundraising campaign to finance a sanatorium cure. He then provided financial support to diamond workers affected by TB, which activities were accommodated in the Diamond Workers Copper Steming Fund (KSF) in 1905. This fund used the proceeds of copper stalks that could no longer be used for grinding for ANDB members who suffered from TB or other illnesses. The initiative was imitated in Belgium (fund Zonnestraal) and the United States (Diamonds Workers' Copper Wire End Fund). A new source of income was initiated by the Delftse in 1917 on the initiative of Van ZutphenProfessor Henri ter Meulen developed by purifying sharpener waste from which pure diamond powder was extracted.
In 1919, the purified diamond cut yielded an amount of 4.25 million guilders, with which the KSF bought the Pampahoeve located in Hilversum. In collaboration with the Amsterdam doctor Ben Sajet and architect Jan Duiker, a sanatorium was established under the name Zonnestraal sanatorium .
During the Second World War, Van Zutphen was made unsolicited member of the Ereraad van Winterhulp by Reichskommissar Seyss Inquart and was forced to include two NSB members in the Zonnestraal administration. Van Zutphen was seen as 'wrong' for some time, but when it turned out that the management of Winterhulp threatened non-cooperating civil servants with punishment, he resigned. In April, Zonnestraal was evacuated when deportation threatened for the Jewish patients. Van Zutphen resigned as chairman of the daily management of the sanatorium in protest against the actions of the occupying forces, and together with his second wife he took care of more than a hundred Jewish people in hiding.
Even after the war, Van Zutphen continued to campaign for TB control and initiated mandatory screening of students. He would remain involved with Zonnestraal until 1956 and in 1955 at the age of 92 was still in charge of a three-month strike of 850 diamond workers.
The Jan van Zutphenplantsoen and the Jan van Zutphenstraat exist in Amsterdam 's Osdorp district . In the Haarlem district Meerwijk and in the Noord district in Enschede there is also a Jan van Zutphenstraat. In the Utrecht district of Zuilen , the Jan van Zutphenlaan exists and in Amerongen the Jan van Zutphenweg.
On 26 May 2013, Jan van Zutphen and his wife Bernardina van Zutphen-Greger were posthumously awarded by Yad Vashem with the highest Israeli decoration, that of Righteous among the peoples. This was awarded for their salvation of three members of the Deen family.