Born in Haarlem in the Netherlands, Caecilia Loots trained to be a Montessori teacher and ran a school for disabled children in Utrecht, where the children called her “Tante Ciel” or Aunt Ciel.

In 1942, a friend asked Caecilia to take in two small Jewish children who would otherwise be sent to their deaths by the invading Nazis. Caecilia agreed, and initially, seven-year-old Caroline (Lineke) Sons and her four-year-old sister, Marian (Janneke), came to the school, an excellent hiding place. Over the following months, others arrived there too, among them Dori and Joost van Cleef, Miriam Emanuel, 12-year-old Simone Paur, 17-year-old Betty Springer, and a young child named Rosen. Soon many more Jewish children arrived.

Caecilia sheltered the children, and also gave them as normal a home as was possible. They attended school, helped around the house, played, and took music lessons. Because non-Jewish Dutch children came and went from the school, the Jewish children’s remained secret.

A Nazi internment camp located near Caecilia’s home and school heightened the risks she faced. Nazis always lurked nearby. She constructed a hiding place in her attic, but only had to use it a few times.

Tante Ciel saved more than Jewish children. Many adult Jews hid in her home, as well, including escapees from the nearby camp. In addition to all the lives she saved, Caecilia also aided the Resistance Movement, distributing illegal newspapers, delivering messages, and holding covert meetings in her home.

Caecilia was also involved in a number of Resistance activities including courier services and distributing illegal newspapers. Caecilia also hosted Resistance meetings in her house. On November 11, 1969 Caecilia Loots was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.