Life: December 27, 1903 – May 13, 1988
Why you should know her: Caecilia Loots was a Dutch schoolteacher who sheltered and saved Jewish children during World War II.
Born in Haarlem in the Netherlands, Caecilia trained to be a Montessori teacher and ran a school for disabled children in Utrecht.
In 1942, a friend asked Caecilia to take in two small Jewish children who would otherwise have been sent to their deaths by the invading Nazis. Caecilia agreed, and soon many more Jewish children arrived.
Caecilia sheltered the children, and also gave them as normal a home as was possible. They attended school, helped around the house, played, and took music lessons. Because non-Jewish Dutch children came and went from the school, the Jewish children's cover was kept.
Because a Nazi internment camp was located near Caecilia's home and school, the risks she faced were great. Nazis were always nearby. She constructed a hiding place in her attic, but only had to use it a few times. Jewish children were not the only ones Caecilia saved. Many adult Jews hid in her home, as well, including those who had escaped the nearby camp. In addition to all the lives she saved, Caecilia was also involved in the Resistance Movement, distributing illegal newspapers, delivering messages, and holding covert meetings in her home.
For the many lives she saved, Caecilia Loots was named Righteous Among the Nations in 1969.