Dutch Woman Who Helped Jews During WWII Dies In Michigan

In this Feb. 23, 2007, photo, Dutch native Diet Eman poses for a photo at her home in Grand Rapids, Mich., before becoming a U.S. Citizen at age 86 when she is naturalized on Feb. 27. (Photo: Emily Zoladz, AP)

Grand Rapids, MI – A western Michigan woman who authored a book chronicling her efforts that helped save hundreds of Jews in the Netherlands during the Nazi Occupation of World War II has died.

Diet (DEET) Eman died Tuesday in Grand Rapids at age 99, according to Seymour Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. A Celebration of Life service is scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday at the church.

Eman was born in the Netherlands and was part of an underground resistance following Nazi Germany’s 1940 invasion of the northern European nation. Her 1994 memoirs, “Things We Couldn’t Say,” detailed how Eman provided forged identification cards and shelter for Jews, and how she helped allied pilots shot down by the German military.

During a 2015 visit to Grand Rapids, Dutch King Willem-Alexander called Eman one of his country’s “national heroes,” according to MLive.com.

“We had to help the Jewish people,” Eman told WXMI-TV in a 2017 interview. “You live by prayer … ‘Lord these are your people and we want to help them.'”

Eman also told the television station that she had a fake identification card when stopped by Gestapo inspectors and taken to a prison.

“I was always traveling because they were after me and I had a false name,” she said. “I had so many different names.

She eventually was moved to a German concentration camp before it was liberated.

Eman later would immigrate to the United States and move to Grand Rapids.


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