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'I Had to Save Those Children'

Marion Pritchard (Photo: Yad Vashem)

One of the reasons we tell you about an Advocate and Ally of the Jewish people each week is because their stories are seldom told. Such was the case of Marion Pritchard, whose own children didn't learn of her selfless actions during the Holocaust until she was honored as a Righteous Gentile. And now, you can learn about Ms. Pritchard, too, as Pam McLoughlin writes at The Jerusalem Post to tell us about this woman who said, “I lied, stole and even killed … I had to save those children … I would do it again”:

Arnie Pritchard of New Haven and his two brothers knew in a general way growing up that their mother, Marion Pritchard, had sheltered Jews in the Netherlands during the Holocaust.

But it wasn’t until 1981, when they were well into adulthood, that they learned the details and scope of her heroism when their mother received the Righteous Among the Nations award from Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial.

It would turn out that, while in her early 20s in Holland, Marion Pritchard risked her life many times over by assisting in saving some 150 Jews, mostly children, killing a man with her pistol to protect a Jewish family and sheltering a Jewish family with an infant for three years. She was even imprisoned for her resistance work.

Arnie Pritchard said his mother wasn’t “gifted with nerves of steel” — she once was terrified when a bat was flying around the house — yet she endured so much risk during that dark time in history when over 6 million Jews were killed.

“It’s not that she didn’t feel the fear. She was able to overcome it,” said Arnie Pritchard, who came to New Haven in 1970 to attend graduate school at Yale University and settled here.

While she was sheltering the Polack family of four, Marion Pritchard even fatally shot a Nazi officer who came to the door — if the family had been found, they would have been sent to a death camp — then covered up his death by getting a local mortician to put him in a casket with another dead body...

Tags: Advocates and Allies

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