Lini was born in Utrecht. On her mom's side (Cohen) the family was orthodox. She never told me much about her dad's side. In her teens she drifted toward communism and anarchism, and like many idealistic youth in the period she ended up fighting in the Spanish civil war. (I have seen evidence that she was probably a photographer in the Republican army.) She married a Spaniard who was executed by Franco, while Lini was pregnant and jailed. After the war, in Italy, several of her friends, who lived in the mountains above Sestri Levante, were anarchists, who were as hostile to Franco as to the Stalinist communists. In 1940 the Dutch ambassador managed to free her from jail, and she returned to (NAZI) occupied Holland, where she promptly joined the resistance. Much later, in the early 1990s, after she went bankrupt my dad tracked down the last remaining member of her resistance group, who attested to her war-time-heroism and helped secure her a modest veteran's pension and apartment in the heart of Amsterdam.
After the war she met my dad and his parents in Amsterdam, and became a family friend. She never denied outright the persistent rumor of an affair with my grandfather, preferring to say, with a chuckle, Schliesser men are all talk, no action. Eventually she met and married Mr. Rosenthal, who sold his business and together they moved to Sestri Levante, a charming town on the Italian Riviera, where she ran Hotel Mimosa in the hills above town. My dad's family remained a regular visitor to the hotel, where I spent many happy Summers during my childhood in the early 70s (although as an infant I did almost drown in the kid's pool of the hotel). With her family she ran the hotel, but she was the dominant figure, including in the kitchen. (She would terrify me by showing me lobsters up close.) One oddity of the hotel, which dawned upon me as the years passed, was that most of her clientele consisted of German and Austrian veterans, including undoubtedly SS/NAZI veterans of WWII. A family lore is that in the 1960s she bailed my dad out of the town-jail because he and some friends had been drunk in public.
In 1990 I followed the Dutch soccer team around the World Cup in Italy. At one point, I was in a train with Dutch supporters from Palermo to the North. The tracks were blocked by Italian farmers protesting (presumably EU farm-policy). The only food and beverage on board the train was beer. After the train got moving, I intended to get off the train in Rome in order to get washed and nourished. But the train was directed straight to Milan, where we were awaited by media and police, eager to tell a story about Dutch Hooligans. (The train was, indeed, in bad shape.) Everybody who could not show a valid ticket for the Holland-Germany match was taken into custody. (One of my friends was also arrested on weapon's charges because of his fancy swiss army knife--he was paraded in front of the cameras.) While I was in custody I asked the lieutenant of the carabinieri in charge of me if we could make a phone-call (pre-mobile phone days). Much to my amazement he allowed it, and from the holding area in the central station of Milan I called Lini, who, mercifully picked up the phone at the hotel. I explained what happened, and she requested to speak to the lieutenant. He came on the phone, and received a terrible dressing down. (She later told me she had told him that he was a gigantic fool and would get into the worst trouble because he clearly had no idea how important my Dad was in Holland and Italian-Dutch trade (all false).) Within moments, I stood outside of the station with a courteous salute, too.
Later that Summer, after one of the most exciting soccer matches I ever saw (Argentina-Brazil in Turin), my dad directed me to Sestri to check on Lini. There, to my dismay, I found a lot of angry creditors and a bewildered Lini, who had clearly been swindled out of her hotel and life-time savings by her latest lover who, as she contemplated retirement and her kids's future, had convinced her to convert the hotel into apartments and then sell these off.
During the last twenty-five years of her life she split her time between Amsterdam (in the government provided apartment) and Pontassieve, a lovely town near Florence, where she lived with her daughter (Catherine) and not far from her granddaughter and her children. She was a never-ending source of dry humor, especially on the politics of our times. (I was pleased for her she lived to see Berlusconi's electoral defeat.) She maintained a keen interest in politics and world affairs, and read books until the last year of her life. She always spoke her mind -- including a plea to my dad not to marry my mom --, and combined courage and steely determination with a great deal of tenderness and generosity to those she trusted. She could be a royal pain to her enemies, big and small, yet I have not known a greater soul; I miss her already.