Marion Pritchard risked her own life to rescue Jews from the Nazis.

Marion Pritchard died on December 11 from cerebral arteriosclerosis. She was 96. A heroic figure, she was recognized by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem's Holocaust memorial, in 1981. The memorial immortalized her as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.” This award is given to people who wants no reward, but risk lives to rescue the Jews from the clutches of the Nazi regime. The Nazis slaughtered about six million people during the Second World War.

Pritchard is said to have saved at least 150 individuals. She achieved this by obtaining false identity documents and delivering the required supplies and food to Jews. She also found hiding places and sheltered them at the time they faced intense persecution by the Nazis.

Pritchard's first brush with the Nazis happened when she was only 19 years old. In 1940, she studied social work at University of Amsterdam. Germany invaded Netherlands that year. Her father was a liberal thinking judge who loathed Nazi ideology. The occupying authorities arrested her the following year and she was locked in prison for seven months. Her crime: she was part of a students' group where the young people were transcribing the Allied radio broadcasts for further dissemination.

In an interview published in Voices from the Holocaust, Pritchard said that the turning point in her life was during a certain day in 1942. When she was on her way to the university she saw, the Nazis destroying a Jewish home. She saw little children thrown by their arms, legs and pigtails on to trucks and when two women protested, they were locked up in the truck as well. Seeing this, she pledged her life to fight the Nazis.

Pritchard, with the assistance of her friends, was able to obtain false identity papers. She also found out a number of hiding places where Jewish people could stay low to evade arrest by the Nazi regime. She helped to find families who are willing to accommodate Jews in their homes. At times, she even did what was then known as a “mission of disgrace.” She told lies to the authorities that she was an unwed mother to conceal a baby's Jewish identity.

Post-World War II saw Pritchard working as a social worker under United Nations auspices in camps of displaced persons. She met Anton, her husband, while working in one such camps. They moved to the U.S. and made Vermont their home. She practiced psychoanalysis during her later years.


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