On December 11, 2016, Marion Pritchard passed away. You might never have heard of Pritchard, but she was responsible for saving a whole lot of people back during World War II. Born in the Netherlands in 1920, Pritchard was 19 when the Nazi invasion began. She joined up with the resistance and worked tirelessly to save as many children as she possibly could.
Pritchard’s original name was Marion van Binsbergen, and she was born in the city of Amsterdam.
When Pritchared was 19, the Germans arrived in the Netherlands and seized control of her hometown.
With her fiery temperament and brave spirit, Marion immediately joined up with the resistance. Shortly afterwards, she found herself in prison, where she would remain for a year and a half.
Pritchard was eventually released and, in 1942, she saw something that shocked her to the core.
“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. You stop, but you can’t believe it.”
Pritchard just happened to be passing by at the exact moment a home for Jewish kids was being raided and destroyed. The children were being tossed into a truck to be taken away.
Pritchard was devastated by what she saw and made a vow to save as many people, especially children, as she possibly could.
She then proceeded to volunteer for so-called “missions of disgrace”, in which non-Jewish resistance members would take-in Jewish children and pretend to be their mothers, preventing them from being taken away by the Nazis.
As Pritchard was young and single, she was able to perform these sorts of missions very successfully. She had no Jewish background and was able to save dozens of kids.
The image above shows Pritchard caring for a young girl named Erica Polak. Polak eventually arrived in the United States, where she became a psychologist. She knows that she owes her life to Pritchard’s bravery.
By the end of the war, it is believed that Pritchard was able to save a grand total of about 150 people.
Most of the missions passed without any problems, but on one occasion, Pritchard was forced to kill someone in order to save a family of Jews that were hiding in her home.
In the years following the war, Pritchard met and married an American soldier, Aaron Pritchard. Together, they built a new life for themselves in the United States.
The couple lived in Vermont, where Pritchard pursued a career as a psychoanalyst, continuing to use her skills to help people in need.
In 1981 her efforts were officially recognized by Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial. Pritchard was given the title of “righteous among the nations” and received several awards for her courage.
As stated at the beginning of this article, Pritchard died in December of 2016, but her memory lives on, along with her three children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Pritchard was a true hero and her story should be known to all, so please SHARE it around to spread the word!