Resistance heroine who saved Jews and survived concentration camp dies in Michigan aged 99


A Dutch woman celebrated for her fearless acts of resistance during World War II, including saving dozens of Jews from Nazi persecution, has died at age 99 in Michigan.

Diet Eman grew up in The Hague on the western coast of the Netherlands where she worked in a bank and enjoyed outdoor activities like climbing trees. “Wherever I went, my hair was always a mess,” Eman said in her 1994 memoir, Things We Couldn’t Say. “My brother Albert and I and our friends used to pedal our bikes outside The Hague to little villages and farms, out to where we found pastures with sloten, those little brooks and moats that are still there today.”

Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940 and successfully took control of the country by May of that year. Eman was 22 in 1942 when Germany began the deportation of the nearly 140,000 Dutch Jewish citizens.

Eman offered to help her Jewish colleague at the bank, Herman, who was also a violinist. She and her fiance Hein Sietsma, who founded Dutch resistance network Group Hein with his brother Henk, were able to find farmers on the outskirts of The Hague that were willing to shield Herman. Eventually, Eman and Sietsma also hid Herman’s fiancee, his mother, and 60 other Jews avoiding their fate at the hands of the Nazis.

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