The New York Times wrote today of the passing of an immigrant to our shores who was truly a heroine. Dr. Tina Strobos and her mother ran a boarding house in Amsterdam during World War II. They worked with the Dutch resistance to set up a secret compartment in the boarding house's attic and during the course of the war hid more than 100 Jews, communists and others fleeing Nazi persecution. The boarding house was regularly searched by the Gestapo, but an elaborate alarm system set up by Ms. Strobos alerted those hiding who were able to make a quick escape to the roof and then a neighboring school. Ms. Strobos also regulalry rode on her bicycle to rural area in Holland to deliver food ration stamps to those hiding Jewish families, forged documents hiding Jewish identity and delivered radios to resistance fighters and stashed their weapons. She was interrogated by the Nazis nine times including one that left her unconscious after she was thrown against a wall.
Ms. Strobos received the major honor of being listed with other rescuers by Yad Vashem in Israel as among the Righteous of the Nations. After World War II, she studied psychiatry with Anna Freud in London and then immigrated to New York where she lived until she died Monday. She would continue helping others throughout her long life. In New York, according to the Washington Post, most of her psychiatry patients were the indigent and handicapped. Even in her 80s, she opened up a senior citizens residence she owned in Rye, New York to families fleeing Hurricane Katrina.
It's unfortunate that most of us, myself included, never knew about her while she was living. But it does remind us of the amazing stories of many immigrants who come to the United States and how fortunate we are that they choose to make our country their destination.