Frits Philips, Who Helped Save Jews During WWII, Dies at 100

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AMSTERDAM - The former head of the Dutch electronics giant Philips, who helped save the lives of hundreds of Jewish workers during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II, has died at the age of 100.

Frits Philips, the last of the family dynasty to lead the electronics group, died late Monday, the Amsterdam-based company said.

The son of Philips Electronics cofounder Anton Philips, he was chief executive of the firm between 1961 and 1971, the fourth CEO of the company after his uncle Gerard, father Anton and brother-in-law Frans Otten.

During World War II, Frits Philips stayed in the German-occupied Netherlands while other family members fled to North America.

During the war years, when Philips supplied electronics to Germany, he secured positions at his factory in the Vught prison camp for as many Jews as possible, delaying their deportation to the Auschwitz death camp.

Frits Philips was imprisoned by the Nazis after a strike during the war. He was awarded the Yad Vashem medal by Israel in 1995 for his efforts to save Jewish workers - almost 380 prisoners survived out of 496 who started work. He said he was no hero and that many others had helped to save lives.

"Frits Philips, in risking his life to save Jews during the Holocaust, showed extraordinary courage in the face of terrible circumstances," Yad Vashem said yesterday.