Elly Wierda, Dutch Resistance fighter, dies

Baltimore Sun 13 July 2011
By Frederick N. Rasmussen

She had helped locate art looted by the Nazis

Ely Wierda, a volunteer who was a member of the Dutch Resistance during World War II, died July 7 of cancer at her Rock Hall home. She was 88.

Born Elly Klein Bog, the daughter of a wealthy textile company owner and a homemaker, she was raised in Amsterdam, where she received her education.

During World War II, she joined the resistance movement in her homeland. With the cessation of hostilities in 1945, she went to Germany seeking art that had been looted during the Nazi occupation of Holland.

"She went to Germany to search for valuable art pieces that had been stolen from the Dutch by the Nazis," said her son, Andrew Wierda, who lives in West Orange, N.J. "Her work led in part to the arrest and conviction of Han van Meegeren, an artist who made millions forging paintings attributed to Vermeer and other Dutch Masters."

She met and fell in love with an American merchant mariner, Donald Wierda, and married in 1948. The couple lived in England and Holland until moving in 1954 to New York City.

For years, the couple lived in Manhasset, N.Y., during Mr. Wierda's tenure as a steamship executive and president of U.S. Lines and later U.S. Navigation Co.

After her husband retired in 1983, they moved to Rock Hall.

He died in 2008.

Mrs. Wierda had served on the board of the Kent Association of Riding Therapy from 1983 until her death, and also had been a board member of the Humane Society of Kent County.

An avid tennis player, Mrs. Wierda played several times a week until she was in her 80s, family members said.

A memorial gathering will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the McLarin Atrium in the Toll Science Center on the Chestertown campus of Washington College.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Wierda is survived by a daughter, Marcia Halpern of San Diego; four grandsons; and a granddaughter.,0,266775.story
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