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Diet Eman

1920 - 2019
Diet Eman Obituary
Eman, Diet
Diet died peacefully in the afternoon on Tuesday, September 3 at Samaritas Living Center.
Diet Eman was born April 30, 1920 in The Hague, Netherlands. She lived a happy childhood in a loving family until World War II came to Holland when Diet was twenty. When the injustices against the Jews began in Holland, Diet and her fiancee Hein Sietsma knew they had to help the Jewish people. Hein and Diet banded to form a Resistance group called Help Elkander in Nood or "helping each other in need"; Hein was one of the group leaders. Over the course of the war, Diet risked her life hiding Jews, obtaining identification documents, and delivering messages across war-torn Holland. Diet was captured and sent to Vught concentration camp, from where she was eventually released. Hein, likewise, was captured and imprisoned at Dachau, but he did not leave it alive.
After the war, Diet moved to Venezuela, where she worked as a nurse for Shell Oil. Eventually, she moved to the United States, spending the majority of her life in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She worked as a translator and volunteered for the Red Cross and the Luke Society. She became an American citizen in 2007.
Over the years, Diet has been recognized for her brave and important work during the war: President Eisenhower personally thanked her for her contributions during wartime efforts; Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust museum, named her "Righteous Among the Nations" for saving Jews during the Holocaust; and King Willem-Alexander deemed her a "National Hero" during his visit to Grand Rapids in June 2015.
If you would like to know more about Diet's story, you can read her book Things We Couldn't Say or watch the documentary that details more of her Resistance activities called The Reckoning (Remembering the Dutch Resistance).
Diet is survived by her two children, Mark Erlich and Joy Coe, as well as her granddaughter, Mary Gray. Additionally, she leaves behind a century's worth of friends across the world, a small army of compassionate caregivers, and a generation of Jewish Holocaust survivors and all those who came after them.
Diet led an incredible life not void of challenge. Her testimony served as a reminder to always trust in the Lord no matter where He leads-and to do so with a good sense of humor. Diet left this world surrounded by all that she loved: her family, countless friends, and a whole lot of chocolate. We ask that in lieu of flowers, donations in Diet's honor are made to Degage Ministry 144 Division Ave South, Grand Rapids 49503. www.degageministry.org, click the "donate now" link. We would like to continue to support this organization in her honor.
The celebration of life will be held Sunday, September 8 at Seymour Christian Reform Church at 2 PM at 840 Alger St SE, Grand Rapids 49507. All are welcome.
Published in Grand Rapids Press on Sept. 8, 2019
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