Marion Pritchard, Dutch ‘Righteous Gentile,’ Dies at 96

(JTA) — Marion Pritchard, a Dutch social work student who rescued Jews during World War II and killed a policeman who discovered a Jewish family she was sheltering, has died.

Pritchard died earlier this month from cerebral arteriosclerosis, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. She was 96.

Pritchard was said to have helped as many as 150 people, including by obtaining false identity documents, delivering food and supplies, and sheltering and finding hiding places for Jews who faced Nazi persecution.

In 1942, at 22, Pritchard felt compelled to resist the Nazis after seeing Germans rounding up Jewish children for deportation. She falsely declared herself to be the mother of Jewish babies in order to save the children — being unmarried, it was considered a “mission of disgrace” — and sheltering and taking care of  a Jewish man and his three young children for three years.

When the father and children were discovered by a Dutch policeman, she shot the officer in order to save the family.

After World War II, Pritchard worked as a United Nations social worker at displaced persons camps. She later moved to the United States with her American husband, former U.S. Army officer Anton Pritchard. In 2006, she moved to Washington, D.C, where she lived until her death.

In 1981, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem recognized her as a Righteous Among the Nations, an honor for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Author

Josefin Dolsten

Josefin Dolsten is a news fellow at the Forward. She writes about politics and culture, and edits the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Contact her at dolsten@forward.com and follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten .

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Marion Pritchard, Dutch ‘Righteous Gentile,’ Dies at 96

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close