In Nazi-occupied Holland in 1943, 18-year-old Hilde van Straten-Duizer stood facing a group of
German soldiers who were searching her mother's rural farm for any Jews
who were in hiding. Hilde was afraid that after searching the house,
the Germans would check the storage loft above the family barn where
a 22-year-old Jewish friend of the family was hiding in the hay. The
young man's parents had already been deported — they were murdered
at Auschwitz — and
he had escaped, but would undoubtedly be sent away if he was discovered.
In an effort to avoid certain death for giving refuge
to a Jew, Hilde and her sister sought to distract the Germans by flirting
and engaging them in conversation. They succeeded, and the soldiers
left the house without ever checking the storage area.
Despite the risk to their own lives, Hilde and her
mother Gijsbertje Duizer sheltered the young Jewish man until the end
of the war. Meanwhile, Hilde had fallen in love with her family's hidden
guest, and, after the liberation of Holland, converted to Judaism and married him.
Joop and Hilde Van Straten immigrated to Israel in 1951, and had four children.
Hilde Van Straten's mother passed away in 1968. Now
nearing 80, van-Straten-Duizer and her late mother were recognized on
March 31, 2005, at Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.