Frits, last Philips, dies

Frits, last Philips, dies

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, died last week at the age of 100.

Frits Philips, the last of the family dynasty to lead the electronics group, died late on Monday, the Amsterdam-based company said. The son of Philips Electronics co-founder 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 behind 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, Israel’s national memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, told Reuters last week.Under his tenure the firm introduced the compact audio cassette and started work on what later became the compact disc.After his retirement from the executive board in 1971, Frits was chairman of the non-executive board until 1977.The company set up by his father and uncle started out as a light bulb producer in 1891.From there it expanded into X-ray technology and radio and TV electronics.It is the world’s biggest lighting maker, a top three hospital equipment maker, Europe’s biggest consumer electronics producer and the region’s number three in semi-conductors.- Nampa-ReutersThe son of Philips Electronics co-founder 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 behind 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, Israel’s national memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, told Reuters last week.Under his tenure the firm introduced the compact audio cassette and started work on what later became the compact disc.After his retirement from the executive board in 1971, Frits was chairman of the non-executive board until 1977.The company set up by his father and uncle started out as a light bulb producer in 1891.From there it expanded into X-ray technology and radio and TV electronics.It is the world’s biggest lighting maker, a top three hospital equipment maker, Europe’s biggest consumer electronics producer and the region’s number three in semi-conductors.- Nampa-Reuters

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