SOMERSWORTH, N.H. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A garden at a church in Somersworth, N.H. has been dedicated to woman who helped protect a Jewish family from the Nazis during World War II.
On Saturday, more than 1,200 tulip and daffodil bulbs were planted in the memory of Wilhelmina Wiegman—who passed away this past spring—in a garden at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish. Wilhelmina had been a long-time member of the church since moving to America after the war.
According to St. Ignatius of Loyola's Father Andrew Nelson, Wilhelmina had grown up in the Netherlands. After the country was invaded by the Nazis, Welhelmina and her family "hid several Jewish families and children. They also helped supply the allied soldiers that were behind enemy lines."
"We wanted to honor that memory and the fact that at a time of great darkness, she witnessed the light," Nelson said. "She was... strong in her catholic faith, as was her family, so there was no question for them that this is what was asked of them. And so they opened their hearts and the doors of their home, and risked everything."
Members of the church, Wilhelmina's family, and members of the local Jewish community attended the planting.
"All the tulip bulbs are from Holland," Nelson said. "They're a gift from the descendants of some of the children, and the people that she helped to protect and hide from the Nazis."
Nelson said Wilhelmina said Wilhelmina and her husband were "well known" in the community, "but not a lot of people knew the story that they brought with them because they were just good humble people. And they didn't see what they did as heroic, it was what one does as a person of faith."
"When we honor someone like Wilhelmina, who was unafraid to risk everything for... those in need, I think in some sense, we honor all people who've done that," Nelson said.
(Photo: Getty Images)
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