Dutch rescuer Marion Pritchard poses with the Jewish infant, Erica Pollak, whom she was hiding.
USHMM #89822/Courtesy of Marion Pritchard
Marion van Binsbergen (now Pritchard, 1920-), Dutch social worker who rescued over 150 Jews during the German occupation of Holland. The daughter of a liberal judge in Amsterdam, Marion attended a private school where there were many Jewish students. After graduating high school she enrolled at the school of social work in Amsterdam, where she was studying when the German invasion took place. In 1941 she was arrested and imprisoned for seven months after German police raided a student gathering at a friend’s apartment where they were listening to Allied broadcasts and making copies for distribution. In 1942 Marion was working in a rehabilitation center when the director asked her to take home a two-year-old boy named Jantje Herben, who was the son of a Jewish couple who was about to be deported. She kept him for several months until she was able to find a safer shelter outside Amsterdam. Later that year Marion witnessed a brutal deportation action at a Jewish children’s home in Amsterdam. This experience shocked her into making rescue work her priority during the war. Among the many Jews she found shelter for, were Freddie Pollak and his three small children, Tom, Lex and Erica. She moved them into a house in the country owned by an older woman. At first Marion joined them only on weekends, but in 1943 she moved in full-time to take care of the children while Freddie worked on his thesis. One night the house was raided by German and Dutch police. They initially didn’t find anyone because the Pollaks were hiding in the basement, but when the Dutch policeman returned alone unexpectedly a short time later, the children were upstairs. To protect them Marion shot and killed the policeman with a revolver her friend had given her. After the liberation Marion went to work for UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration). During her service in the DP camps in Germany she met Tony Pritchard, a former officer in the American army. The two were married and moved to the U.S. in 1947. Marion later went to work for the Boston Jewish Family and Children’s Service, where she helped Jewish refugees put their lives back together. Marion was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1983.