Niles, Ill. (March 23) – At the March 27th Village Board meeting, the Village of Niles Board of Trustees will unveil honorary street signs for “Joe Koek Way.” Nordica Avenue at Oakton Street will receive the honorary street name in honor of the late Joe Koek, who along with his two sisters, was among the Hidden Children of the Netherlands after the Nazi invasion in World War II. They were hidden in an upstairs apartment in Amsterdam, while their parents were captured and taken away to the concentration camps in Auschwitz, where they died. Joe was separated from his sisters, escaping capture and death. All three survived the Holocaust and Joe eventually made his way to America, and later lived in Niles from 1970 until the early 1990’s. He owned Joseph’s Tailors and Cleaners on Waukegan at Oakton. During his life, he travelled around the country sharing his experiences from the Holocaust, and was a part of the Speakers Bureau at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. Joe passed away in 2015.
The Koek family will be represented at the meeting by Steve and Phil Koek, two of Joe’s three sons, who all grew up in Niles. Steve now follows in his father’s footsteps giving presentations about the Holocaust. Steve will give a presentation during the Village Board meeting, sharing his father’s story of surviving the Holocaust and settling in Niles.
At the meeting, a proclamation will also be read acknowledging Holocaust Remembrance. Day, which is observed on April 12th.