IN REMEMBRANCE: 12-25-2016


Marion Pritchard with Erica Polak, a Jewish baby she was hiding, in 1944. Credit Marion Pritchard, via United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Marion Pritchard, a gentile whose shock at watching Nazi soldiers storm a home for Jewish children in Amsterdam and load them into a truck for deportation inspired her to enter a clandestine world of rescuing Jews, died on Dec. 11 at her home in Washington. She was 96.

The cause was cerebral arteriosclerosis, her family said.

“By 1945, I had lied, stolen, cheated, deceived and even killed,” Ms. Pritchard said in a lecture in 1996 at the University of Michigan, where she received the Wallenberg Medal, a humanitarian award given by the university in memory of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II.

In the spring of 1942, Ms. Pritchard was a social work student who had been imbued by her father, a judge, with a strong sense of outrage about the injustices perpetrated against the Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. One day, she recalled, as she was riding her bicycle to class, she saw Nazis at the children’s home “picking up the kids by an arm or a leg or by the hair” and throwing them into a truck.

“Well, I stopped my bike and looked,” she said in an oral history recorded in 1984 by the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. “Two other women coming down on the street got so furious, they attacked the German soldiers, and they just picked the women up and threw them in the truck after the kids.

“I just stood there,” she added. “I’m one of those people who sat there and watched it happen.”

Ms. Pritchard in her United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration uniform in 1946. Credit Marion Pritchard, via United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

To save and shelter Jews, Ms. Pritchard registered Jewish infants as her own children and found safe, non-Jewish homes for them. She helped feed Jews and get them ration cards. She secured false identification papers to help them avoid capture by the Nazis, and found medical care for children through a friendly pediatrician.

Sometimes her role was simply to be one in a line of rescuers who handed Jewish children to someone else, who would then lead them out of danger. By her estimate, she helped rescue 150 Jews.

“You just did not talk,” she said.

Ms. Pritchard was recognized in 1981 by Yad Vashem, the world center for Holocaust research and commemoration in Jerusalem, as “Righteous Among the Nations,” an honor given to gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Ms. Pritchard, who was Anglican, is one of about 26,000 people to receive the award. About one-fifth of them were from the Netherlands.

She was born Marion Philippina van Binsbergen on Nov. 7, 1920, in Amsterdam, one of two children of Jacob and Grace van Binsbergen. Her mother, a homemaker, was born in Britain.

Marion was educated in Amsterdam and England, where she attended boarding school and was active in the Girl Guides, a scouting organization. She graduated from the Amsterdam School of Social Work.

One night in 1941, she was studying with a friend in a house in Amsterdam when she was arrested by Nazis in a roundup of others there who had been covertly distributing mimeographed broadsheets culled from BBC news reports. She was not part of the group, she said, but was imprisoned for about six months and tortured.

Her best-known rescue started in late 1942. She was asked by a friend to hide Fred Polak and his young children, Erica, an infant, and her brothers, Lex, 4, and Tom, 2. When she could not find a safe place, her friend persuaded his mother-in-law to let Ms. Pritchard and the Polaks move into the servants’ quarters of her villa in Huizen, 15 miles outside Amsterdam.

Jews in hiding, like the Polaks, feared the Nazis’ nighttime raids demanding their papers. So they developed a routine: If they felt in danger — most often by hearing the approach of the vehicle the Germans would arrive in — they would push aside the coffee table and rug in the living room, pull up the floorboards and hide below in a pit.

They practiced the drill often and could complete it in less than a minute.

One night in late 1944, three Nazis and a Dutch collaborator, who had been a police officer before the war, came to the door. The Polaks were in the pit.

Ms. Pritchard received the Medal of Valor at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s annual national tribute dinner in May 2009 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“They didn’t find the hiding place,” Ms. Pritchard recalled. “But the Nazis had learned that if they didn’t find the hiding place, if they came back an hour later, the Jew or Jews might have come out of the hiding place and they could pick them up.”

“I couldn’t think of anything else to do but kill him,” she told the filmmaker Aviva Slesin in an interview for her 2002 documentary “Secret Lives: Hidden Children and Their Rescuers.” “There was a moment of great exhilaration. Thank God the kids were safe.”

A local undertaker buried the collaborator’s body in the same coffin as another body, she said.

She feared that people would look for the missing Dutch Nazi — whom she described as widely-loathed — but as far as he knows, no one did. “I think a lot of people were delighted” that he was dead, she recalled.

Ms. Pritchard stayed with the Polak family until the end of the war.

Erica Polak was reunited with Ms. Pritchard about 30 years after the war. “I wanted to thank her for keeping us alive through these difficult war years,” Ms. Polak wrote in an email this week. “And somehow, I felt very connected to this woman whom I didn’t see for such a long time.”

After the war, Ms. Pritchard worked for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in displaced-persons camps in Germany. That work enabled her to meet Anton Pritchard, a United States Army officer who had been discharged and was the head of a camp in Bavaria. They were married in the camp.

They moved to the United States in 1947, and Ms. Pritchard continued her social work. She later became a psychoanalyst.

She is survived by her sons, Arnold, Brian and Ivor; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandson. Her husband, a health care consultant, died in 1991.

“Some of our students chose their professions referencing Marion,” Professor Dwork said in an interview on Thursday. “One of them just finished her dissertation on women rescuers and perpetrators in Rwanda. She wrote to me and said, ‘This is all about Marion.’

“Not only did she save lives during the 1940s,” Professor Dwork said, “but she continues to save lives today through her influence.”




Model China Machado, from the film About Face, poses for a portrait during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Victoria Will/AP

China Machado, a model, muse and editor who was one of the first women to break high fashion’s color barrier, has died at 86.

A Facebook page associated with Machado’s fashion line announced on Sunday that she had died. The New York Times, citing Machado’s family, says she died over the weekend of a heart attack.

Machado spent decades working closely with legendary photographer Richard Avedon, who called her “probably the most beautiful woman in the world,” according to New York Magazine.

Avedon’s striking photos of Machado appeared in Harper’s Bazaar in the late ’50s. According to reports, the magazine initially balked at Machado’s race, but Avedon vowed to cut ties with Harper’s if it didn’t run the photos.

The images were published — one of the first times, if not the very first time, a woman of color was featured in a major fashion magazine.

But those groundbreaking images were just part of a long, storied and influential fashion career.

Model China Machado in a dinner dress and jacket by Ben Zuckerman, New York, in November 1958. Richard Avedon/Courtesy of The Richard Avedon Foundation

Machado, who was of Chinese and Portuguese descent, was born in Shanghai on Dec. 25, 1929, as Noelie Machado. (Machado modeled in a campaign called “Born in 1928,” but multiple sources identify her birth year as 1929.)

Her family fled to Argentina after World War II. Machado became a Pan Am air hostess and lived with her brother in Lima, Peru, according to a Telegraph profile.

At 19, she met Luis Miguel Dominguín, who was the most famous bullfighter in the world at the time — Ernest Hemingway’s The Dangerous Summer is about Dominguín and his brother. By all accounts, he was immediately smitten.

Machado ran off with the dashing bullfighter, scandalizing her family and kicking off two extraordinary years of travel and adventure — partying with Errol Flynn and Pablo Picasso.

But then Dominguín left Machado — for Ava Gardner, who was still married to Frank Sinatra at the time.

“I was with him the night they met — at a party in Madrid,” Machado told the Telegraph. “Can you imagine, the most beautiful woman in the world coming in and going after your guy? I had no chance.”

Model China Machado in a dress by Jacques Griffe, Paris, in August 1959. Richard Avedon/Courtesy of The Richard Avedon Foundation

Machado was a beauty herself, of course, but she said repeatedly in interviews that she didn’t see it that way. Beauty, in the 1950s, was white:

“I never thought I was good-looking in any way, shape or form, because Vivian Leigh and Lana Turner and Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth I thought were beautiful,” she said in a video for Cole Haan’s Born in 1928 campaign. “I didn’t look like them, so I thought I can’t be good-looking, right?”

After Dominguín broke her heart, Machado entered the world of high fashion — and became, for future generations, the nonwhite beauty icon she’d never had for herself.

She moved to Paris and modeled for Givenchy, Balenciaga and Dior, according to W Magazine. (She also had an affair with movie star William Holden, and met and married her first husband, French actor Martin LaSalle.)

Vogue noted that she was one of the first prominent nonwhite models on European runways, opening the doors for generations to follow.

Nodding to her exceptional status as an Asian woman on European runways, Machado changed her name as her modeling career kicked off, as W Magazine writes:

“Somewhere along the line Noelie Machado decided that her very Catholic, born–on–Christmas Day name did little to enhance her unusual look and her burgeoning career on the haute circuit. In South America she had heard the Indian girls referred to derogatorily as chinitas. She decided to turn the slur into a moniker that pulsed with exotica. China (pronounced CHEE-na) Machado was born.”

New York Magazine interviewed her in 2011, and Machado said she was the highest-paid freelance runway model in Europe back in her prime.

Her runway success was followed by her magazine fame. In New York, Machado met Avedon; for a few years, she was photographed exclusively by him. Later, she was shot by Andy Warhol, Bruce Weber and Geoffrey Holder, New York Magazine reports.

After appearing in the pages of the glossies, Machado switched to the other side — becoming a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar.

“She went on to produce fashion TV shows, design costumes for films, and crisis-manage as fashion director of Lear’s, a magazine for women over 35,” New York Magazine wrote.

She ran a gallery in the Hamptons, married her second husband, made a fortune in real estate. And she continued to model occasionally over the years, signing a contract with IMG at age 81.

As of this fall, Machado was still working — promoting her new line of wool and faux-fur jackets and stoles called Cheena.

Profiles of Machado in her 80s invariably comment on her vitality, energy and enduring beauty.

“I’ve never dieted, never exercised, I eat like a pig, and I drink — mainly vodka,” the supermodel told the Telegraph at age 82. “I still smoke, too.”

She gave some life advice to Vogue this October.

“I think it’s crucial to be happy. I always tell everybody I know, ‘Listen, if you don’t like your job, quit!’ I know this is insane, but you’re not going to be good at it if you don’t like it,” she said.

“In my life, the most important thing is to stay happy.”

And she had some advice for young women, specifically, that she shared with New York Magazine:

“Do not in any way underestimate yourself,” she said. “Don’t take any kind of crap.”




Slide Show

George Michael: Evolution of a Pop Icon

CreditSusana Vera/Reuters

George Michael, the creamy-voiced English songwriter who sold tens of millions of albums in the duo Wham! and on his own, died on Sunday at his home in Goring in Oxfordshire, England. He was 53.

A police statement said: “Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2 p.m. Christmas Day. Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious.”

Mr. Michael onstage in Bratislava, Slovakia, on a 2007 European tour. Credit Samuel Kubani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Michael was one of pop’s reigning stars in the 1980s and 1990s — first as a handsome, smiling, teenypop idol making lighthearted singles like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” with Wham!, then arriving as a grown-up pop sex symbol with his 1987 album “Faith.”

But Mr. Michael grew increasingly uncomfortable with the superficiality and relentless promotion of 1980s-style pop stardom. He turned away from video clips and live shows; he set out to make more mature statements in his songs, though he never completely abandoned singing about love and desire. Mr. Michael wrote supple ballads, like “Careless Whisper” and “Father Figure,” as well as buoyant dance tracks like “Freedom ’90” and “I Want Your Sex.” For much of his career, including his best-selling albums “Faith” and “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1,” he was also his own producer and studio backup band. Much of his music drew on R&B, old and new, but his melodic gift extended across genres.

Mr. Michael won a Grammy Award for “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” a duet with Aretha Franklin, and “Faith” won the Grammy for album of the year. In Britain, he was showered with awards, and in 2004, Britain’s Radio Academy said he had been the most-played performer on British radio from 1984-2004.

Mr. Michael performing solo at Madison Square Garden in 1988. He later turned away from live shows. Credit Ebet Roberts

In 1998, Mr. Michael came out as gay after being arrested on charges of lewd conduct in a men’s room in Beverly Hills, Calif. He had long lent his name and music to support AIDS prevention and gay rights. During interviews in later years, he described himself as bisexual, and said that hiding his sexuality had made him feel “fraudulent.” He also described a long struggle with depression.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,” his publicist Connie Filippello said in a statement. “The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

Mr. Michael became one of pop’s reigning stars in the 1980s in Wham! Credit Ian Dickson/Redferns

George Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in East Finchley, London, on June 25, 1963, the son of a Greek Cypriot restaurateur and an English dancer. In 1979, he and a schoolmate, Andrew Ridgeley, were members of their first band together, a ska band called the Executive. That didn’t last, but they continued to make music together — most of it composed and sung by Mr. Michael — and began releasing singles as Wham!, cultivating the image of carefree teenage rebels in songs like “Young Guns (Go for It!).” Their 1983 debut album, “Fantastic,” reached No. 1 in Britain; in the United States, the 1984 single “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” became ubiquitous on MTV and reached No. 1. In 1985, the duo became the first major Western pop group to tour China as part of its world tour, and Mr. Michael appeared at the Live Aid concert, broadcast worldwide, joining Elton John to sing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

The worldwide 1984 hit “Careless Whisper,” credited in Britain to George Michael solo and to Wham! featuring George Michael in the United States, signaled a turn away from perky teen fare. In 1986, Wham! dissolved, with a farewell show at Wembley Stadium. Mr. Michael had a No. 1 hit with “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” his duet with Aretha Franklin, before releasing the album “Faith” in 1987. Its first single, “I Want Your Sex,” reached No. 2 in the United States, though it was seen as too risqué by some radio stations; Mr. Michael made an introduction to its video clip stating “This song is not about casual sex.” “Faith,” which hinted at both gospel and rockabilly, reached No. 1, and the album included three more No. 1 hits: “Father Figure,” “Monkey” and “One More Try”; it has sold more than 10 million copies in the United States.

But for the next album “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1,” released in 1990, Mr. Michael set out to jettison his pop persona. The autobiographical “Freedom ’90” declared his independence from the pop machine along with his determination to “stick around”; he didn’t appear in its video clip, which had models lip-syncing the lyrics. The album also included a No. 1 single, the ballad “Praying for Time,” and has sold two million copies in the United States, but after the blockbuster of “Faith” it was considered a commercial letdown.

Mr. Michael entered a protracted legal battle with Sony Music over his contract, and was unable to release another album until 1996. Its title, “Older,” was an unmistakable signal that he was no longer directly courting the youth market; he was 32 years old. But the album was an instant hit in England and Europe — it had six hit singles in England — though less popular in the United States. After the 1998 arrest, Mr. Michael released a greatest-hits album with two new songs; one, “Outside,” set its video clip in a men’s restroom. He made a 1999 album of cover songs, “Songs of the Last Century.”

Aretha Franklin joined Mr. Michael in 1988 in Auburn Hills, Mich., on his tour for his Grammy-winning album “Faith.” Credit Robert Kozloff/Associated Press

In the early 2000s, Mr. Michael released songs protesting the invasion of Iraq including the 2002 “Shoot the Dog.” His last full studio album, “Patience,” was released in 2004, full of introspective ballads. Mr. Michael returned to performing; he joined Paul McCartney onstage during the Live 8 benefit concert. In 2006, he performed a world tour, paired with another collection of hits, “Twenty Five,” that included new duets with Mr. McCartney and Mary J. Blige. He continued to release individual songs sporadically, and in 2014, he released “Symphonica,” a collection of standards and his own songs recorded with an orchestra.

He had been planning an expanded reissue, due in 2017, of “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1,” paired with a documentary, “Freedom,” exploring his musical, personal and legal struggles.

Correction: December 25, 2016
An earlier version of this obituary misspelled the surname of Mr. Michael’s Wham! bandmate. He is Andrew Ridgeley, not Ridgely.

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