In the life of Gertrude van Tijn, Bernard Wasserstein has found the perfect subject for examining the appalling options that faced Jewish leaders under Nazi rule. Van Tijn was born into a bourgeois German Jewish family in 1891. The early loss of her mother and financial ruin turned her into a strong, independent woman. She married a Jewish mining engineer and travelled widely before settling in the Netherlands. She was drawn to feminism, social work and Zionism at a time when they were unfashionable causes. In 1933 she took on relief work for German Jews escaping persecution in the Third Reich.