My name is actually William Douglas (not William Willems, fortunately), but my mom’s name is Emily Willems, and the ancestor that I’m writing about now was named Dirk Willems. My mom has told me about this before, but I didn’t actually know the whole story until I researched it just now. Basically, all my family members on my mom’s side of the family, going back hundreds of years, were Mennonites, which are Protestants called Anabaptists. Anabaptists believed that only people who knew what they were doing should get baptized, as opposed to other Protestants who believed that everybody should be baptized at birth. In the Netherlands in the 1500s (specifically around 1569), the government stance was to support that of non-Anabaptists, and Anabaptists were extremely persecuted. Dirk was, of course, an Anabaptist and was imprisoned for his beliefs. He eventually managed to escape the prison (which used to be a palace) using a rope made of knotted rags. He successfully made it out, but a guard saw him on the way. Dirk ran away over a frozen pond, and the guard followed him. Dirk, having lived on the meager prison rations, was light enough not to break through the ice, but the guard fell through. Instead of just continuing to run, Dirk turned around and saved the guard’s life by pulling him from the ice. Tragically, he was repaid by being burned at the stake anyway, making him into a martyr who's still celebrated by Anabaptists today.