Remembering a Dutch Resistance Fighter Who Risked Her Life to Save Jews from the Nazis

Sept. 13 2019

Diet Eman died last week in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the age of ninety-nine. Born in The Hague, Eman left Europe after World War II and lived in the U.S. for many years before becoming a citizen in 2007. It was only in 1990 that she began to speak publicly about her wartime experiences, which Sam Roberts describes in an obituary:

[W]hen, in May 1940, the Germans, hours after Hitler had vowed to respect Dutch neutrality, invaded the Netherlands, . . . some of [Eman’s] neighbors, fellow churchgoers, argued that for whatever reason, God in his wisdom must have willed the German invasion. But Eman—herself so deeply religious that she would leave assassinations, sabotage, and, for the most part, even lying to others—could find no justification for such evil.

She and her then-boyfriend, Hein Seitsma, joined a Resistance group. They began by spreading news received on clandestine radios from the British Broadcasting Corporation, then smuggling downed Allied pilots to England, either by boat across the North Sea or more circuitously through Portugal. [In 1942], a plea for help by Herman van Zuidan, a Jewish co-worker of Eman’s, prompted her Resistance group to focus on stealing food- and gas-ration cards, forging identity papers, and sheltering hundreds of fugitive Jews. . . .

Eman delivered supplies and moral support to one apartment in The Hague that in late 1942 housed 27 Jews in hiding. The walls were paper thin. Crying babies and even flushing a toilet risked raising the suspicions of neighbors. [Yet] each time some of the Jews there were smuggled out to isolated farms outside the city, Eman returned to find that the woman had taken in more refugees. . . .

Eman was [eventually caught and] interned in the Vught concentration camp in the southern Netherlands, but after stubbornly insisting that she was simply a callow housemaid, she was released three months later, in August 1944. She immediately rejoined the Resistance and remained with it until May 1945, when she mounted a tank and directed Canadian liberators to die-hard German snipers only days before Germany surrendered.

Seitsma was not so lucky: he was caught and taken by the Gestapo to the Dachau concentration camp, where he was tortured and killed.

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Read more at New York Times

More about: Dachau, Holocaust, Netherlands, Righteous Among the Nations

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia