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Although not a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, my mom, Sara Rebekkah “Betty” Borst Billuni, every bit the American as any GI, worked with the Dutch Resistance in WWII Occupied Amsterdam, delivering forged documents, distributing anti-Nazi leaflets, and smuggling hidden Jews out of the city. Interned by the Nazis as a civilian POW toward the end of the war and repatriated as an exchange POW, she sailed for home on the MS Gripsholm, where she met Dad.
In an interview with her granddaughter, Betty said that her mother (Angelina) and sister (Gladys), were there to greet her when the ship arrived. They had also been POWs and repatriated just the year before. Betty weighed just 80 pounds. All she had was what she was wearing: a gray sweater, and gray pants with a piece of rope for a belt. Her mother took her on a shopping spree for new clothes. (The photo below was taken after the shopping). When they went to a grocery store, she couldn’t believe all the food that was available. After paying, Betty held tight to the food, halfway expecting someone to take it from her.
Mom was just one of the many Resistance fighters in countries throughout Europe, and American women who labored on the home front who deserve to be recognized as Veterans of World War II.