Elisabeth (Elly) Rodrigues Cassutto (the mother of the donor) was born in Amsterdam to Abraham and Leah Coopman Rodrigues on April 23, 1931. She had one older brother Henri born in March 1930. Abraham was a textile merchant. Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 and two years later began the deportation of Jews. The Rodrigues family decided to go into hiding in November 1942. Lizeburtus Bochove, the owner of a drug store in Huizen, agreed to hide the family above his store. He also hid another family of three. The families had to remain quiet during the day and could only talk or exercise in the evenings. Bochove even installed parallel bars so the hidden Jews could exercise. After eleven months, it became too dangerous to remain there, and the family left for the countryside in either a hearse or an ambulance. Grietje Bogaards, a former client of Abraham, lived alone and taught home economics in a parochial school in Hazerswoude, South Holland. She agreed to hide Elisabeth and gave her a new identity as a Christian school girl names Ely van Tol. Henri went to live with Grietje’s sister Aartje Ketel, a widow who had six children of her own. Both sisters took very good care of the Rodrigues children. Elisabeth’s parents hid separately in Utrecht. At first they regularly sent money to their children’s rescuers via the underground. Then suddenly the support ended. It became clear that Elly’s parents had been captured. Arrested in December 1943, they were deported to Auschwitz where they were killed. Grietje feared that the safety of the children might have been compromised so she fled to another small town together with Elisabeth. Realizing that made her more suspicious, she and Elly returned home after six weeks. Following liberation Elisabeth remained with her foster-mother Grietje and converted to Christianity. Henri discovered relatives and immigrated to the Unites States in 1950. On October 22, 1987 Yad Vashem recognized Grietje Bogaards and her sister Aartje Ketel-Bogaards as Righteous Among the Nations.
In 1948, Elly met Ernest Cassutto. He was born to an assimilated Jewish family in Indonesia. In 1934 the family returned to the Netherlands and settled in The Hague. In 1939 Ernest met and became engaged to Hetty Winkel. After the deportations of Dutch Jews began, the young couple became separated. Ernest later learned that Hetty captured and deported to Auschwitz where she died in January 1944. Ernest also was arrested and held in a jail in Rotterdam where he was repeatedly interrogated. With the help of a guard, who was also a member of the underground, Ernest managed to escape and make his way to England to recuperate. He too became a practicing Christian in gratitude to his guard and later became a Hebrew Christian minister. He returned to The Netherlands and in 1947 addressed a group called Haderech composed of Jewish children who had converted to Christianity. Elly Rodrigues belonged to that group and heard him speak. The two became engaged in 1948, later married and moved to the United States.