Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

Gijsbertje Duizer & Hilde van Straten-Duizer

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.

Sources: Jerusalem Post, (March 31, 2005)