Mona Parsons Sentenced to Death

“Meine Herren. Guten Morgen.” The calm, steady voice took the German judge and the Nazi court by surprise
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An unlikely war hero, Mona Parsons was sentenced to a Nazi prison camp for helping dozens of downed Allied airmen escape

A woman just sentenced to death by firing squad was expected to sob and plead for mercy, but not Mona Parsons.

Found guilty of treason in Amsterdam, Holland on December 22, 1941, for hiding Allied soldiers in her safe house, Mona then turned and walked to the prison van.

The judge was taken by the beautiful 41-year-old woman’s dignified demeanour. On her way out of the room, he suggested that Mona should enter an appeal and that he would recommend it. Her sentence was commuted.  How on earth did a Canadian find herself in such a state?

Heather Killen

Published on October 30, 2015  

Parsons’ courage is marked in the gestures of compassion and hope that lifted others

Wendy Elliott, a member of the Women of Wolfville, is among those determined to save Parsons from becoming forgotten by history.“Both my father and aunt knew her; it was a given that I would help,” she said. “There are so many stories about Mona –  people still remember her.”

Did you know?
Married to a well-to-do Dutch man, Parsons was sentenced to death in 1941 for hiding Allied airman in their house near Amsterdam. She spent the rest of the war in forced labour camps in Nazi Germany, and then escaped by walking to the border of the Netherlands.

The Women of Wolfville took up the need for a commemoration and were joined by the Wolfville Historical Society. The provincial government and the town of Wolfville were the lead contributors to the campaign, which was also supported by individual donors. A Canadian Heritage Legacy Fund grant and a significant donation from former Annapolis Valley resident Dr. Allen Eaves helped bring the fundraising campaign to a close.

She was the only Canadian female civilian to be imprisoned by the Nazis and her bravery was unrecognized until Hill Lehr wrote a play and a book about her exploits. Her wartime heroism was later documented by a Heritage Minute and in a History TV documentary.

Parsons was born in Middleton and died in Wolfville in 1976.