A woman credited with helping up to 150 Jews—many of them children—and saving dozens of lives during the Holocaust died earlier this month at the age of 96, her family announced this week. The Washington Post reports Marion Pritchard was a social work student in the Netherlands when Germany invaded in 1940. She was jailed for seven months in 1941 for transcribing Allied radio broadcasts but truly realized her calling to fight in 1942 while bicycling by a home for Jewish children. “It was a beautiful spring morning, and it was a street I had known since I had been born, and all of a sudden you see little kids picked up by their pigtails or by a leg and thrown over the side of a truck,” she explained in an interview.
In the coming years, Pritchard would hide Jewish families under floorboards, find them safe houses, secure fake identity documents and extra ration cards, and pretend to be an unwed mother to protect Jewish babies. “Most of us were brought up to tell [the] truth, to obey the secular law and the Ten Commandments,” she once said. “By 1945, I had stolen, cheated, deceived, and even killed.” Pritchard shot a policeman who discovered she was hiding a Jewish family—a decision that bothered her for years but that she never regretted. After the war, she became a UN social worker then got married and moved to the US, where she worked with refugees and became a psychoanalyst. Pritchard was recognized by the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem in 1981. (Read more Holocaust stories.)