Skip to comments.Dutch women named 'Righteous Among Nations'
Posted on 03/31/2005 10:06:39 PM PST by M. Espinola
Staring certain death straight in the face, the 18-year-old Dutch teen did not flinch. It was 1943 in Nazi-occupied Holland, with the Nazi deportation of Dutch Jews in full swing.
In a rural farm in south-central of the country, Hilde van Straten-Duizer stood facing a group of German soldiers who were searching her mother's home for any Jews who were in hiding.
After completing a thorough search of the entire house, the teen knew where the ever-so-thorough- German soldiers would undoubtedly go next: the storage loft above the family barn.
What van Straten-Duizer also knew was among some bundles of hay in the storage loft was exactly where a 22 year old Jewish friend of the family was being sheltered, having recently escaped a Nazi deportation to a concentration camp.
With only seconds separating her whole family from certain death for giving refuge to a Jew, the country teen and her sister engaged the Germans in conversation, overtly flirting with them. Distracted by the clever ruse, the Germans would leave the house a quarter hour later without ever checking the storage area.)
Until the end of the war, Van Straten-Duizer and her mother Gijsbertje Duizer would continue to give refuge to the young Jewish man -- whose own parents, like the vast majority of Dutch Jews, had been deported and murdered at Auschwitz -- despite the risk to their own lives and their frighteningly close encounter with the Germans.
By the war's end, Hilde Van Straten-Duizer had fallen in love with her family's hidden guest, and, after the liberation of Holland would convert to Judaism and marry him.
Joop and Hilde Van Straten immigrated to Israel in 1951, and had four children.
For the next five decades, the Van-Stratens maintained close ties with the family back in Holland, who were supportive of the move, and the marriage.
Hilde Van Straten's mother passed away in 1968, while her husband died in 1988. Now nearing 80, van-Straten-Duizer and her late mother were recognized Thursday at as a 'Righteous Among the Nations,' Israel's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority's highest honor. [An impressive 70 percent of the 20,760 recognized 'Righteous Among the Nations' are from Holland.]
Her 83 year old sister, Cor Duizer, who flew in from Switzerland accepted the award on their mother's behalf.
More than sixty years after the event, the two white-haired ladies continually think back to that fateful day with the German soldiers, van-Straten-Duizer said after the ceremony, her face aglow with emotion. "We always speak about it among ourselves," she said.
She and her sister were too moved to speak at the ceremony itself, where more than a hundred friends and family members had gathered, to give honor to their heroism and courage. But, speaking on her behalf, her son Shalom van-Straten said that the Bible-believing Dutch family to whom he owes his very existence, never felt they did something out of the ordinary.
"They never saw in their behavior anything special, certainly not something to talk on about; it was their nature, and their way of life," he said.
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What a wonderful story. These women very much deserved to be honored. Good thing men so easily succumb to being flirted with. A little wink here, a little batting of the eyelids there, is all it took to distract the German soldiers. Thank goodness some of the time honored techniques of women flattering men worked that day. LOL!
Sorry to say there were no available photos of the honoured ladies from the Dutch Holocaust period, otherwise they would have been included.
This is the difference between the Dutch of that era and now.
Incidentally, it's also the reason why Micronesia always votes in support of Israel at the UN. Christian missionaries transformed this island into a Bible reading nation of believers.
Wonderful story, always brings tears to my eyes. Back in 1991 my paternal grandparents were also recognized by Yad Vashem. They received the recognition one month before my grandfather passed away.
You are in Micronesia?
I knew Micronesia had a superb U.N. voting record regarding Israel and the U.S. Now I know why. Thanks for listing that information.
Knowing your direct relatives undertook an extremely dangerous assignment to save the lives of the persecuted, is also an honour to be part of your greater family. These are truly heroes among men.
Thanks for the ping
Righteous of the Nations ping! A brave Dutch woman!
What a moving story. Thanks for posting it!
Thanks for the ping. And good point. I find it hard to believe the Nazis would have been lenient on anyone guilty of the cardinal sin -- helping a Jew.
Somewhere on this Board is a thread describing Dutch doctors' refusal to participate in Nazi atrocities.
OTOH the Dutch government rolled over in three days.
I wonder how the Jews would feel if some nation started to commemorate the "Righteous Among the Jews"?
What's your point?
Be blunt. After your links to a neo-Nazi website and your refusal to remove it, I have no illusions.
Some nations issue their medals and awards. Israel and this organization issues this tribute. What is it you can't understand or disrespect -- someone risking their life to save a Jew?
It is that I find it condensending. There are several Jews who saved Polish lives after Societ invasion in 1939. Still it would be offensive to single such Jews as "Righteous among the Jews".
Such practice of appointing the "righteous" people is blasphemous. It implies that others are not by default, it elevates the individuals who make the judgment to the special prideful status.
After your links to a neo-Nazi website and your refusal to remove it, I have no illusions.
You are trying to smear me by twisting the facts. The link (not links) which you call "neo-Nazi" was the first return on Google I got containing more information on the anti-Serbian PR paid by nationalist Croats and and Islamists - I did not look into it closely as my point was ony to get the names of PR companies and few facts/dates. I refused to delete my post because I do not like to be ordered in insulting manner.
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