Sunday, May 29, 2011

Diet Eman: Gestapo on the Phone

Diet Eman, 1940. Courtesy of Diet Eman.

Soon Hein and Diet were both busy with Resistance work, usually apart from each other. Diet would deliver false identification papers and extra ration cards to whoever needed them, whether it was on a farm or in the city. There was one very small apartment in The Hague, rented by a middle-aged woman named Mies, which was being used to hide 27 Jews, an incredibly dangerous number. Even in the country where it was much safer than in the bustling, populous city, there were never that many Jews hidden in one place. Diet regularly delivered the ration cards to Mies but she warned her repeatedly that it was just a matter of time before they were all discovered. Mies allowed Diet to move some of the Jews out of the apartment and into safer locations, but the next time Diet visited, Mies had taken in more Jews.

For her own safety, Diet decided to always phone the apartment before knocking, just to avoid being arrested herself. One day, when Diet called, a strange man’s voice answered the phone. Diet hung up and tried again. Again, the man answered. After calling a third time and hearing the same voice answer, Diet went over to the grocery store across the street from the apartment. Surely, if the Gestapo had raided the apartment, people in the store would be talking about it.

They were.

Excerpts from "Diet Eman: Courier for the Dutch Resistance" from Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue.

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