van Haren, Duifje (December 18, 1917 - September 17, 2021)

Also known as: van Dam, Duifje; van Haren, Delia
BiographyDuifje (Delia) van Haren (née van Dam) was born in Gorinchem, Netherlands, on December 18, 1917 to parents Abraham van Dam (b. 28 March 1885, d. 26 October 1942) and Emma Goldstein (b. 1 January 1881, d. 14 June 1929). She had two older brothers, Philip van Dam (b. 22 May 1912, d. 31 December 1942) and Samuel van Dam (b. 5 July 1914, d. 1 April 2013), and was raised in a secular family. In 1929 her mother passed away and her father remarried a religious woman, Betsy van Dam (née Kleinkramer, b. 1895, d. 26 October 1942). She had minimal Jewish education and finished her secular education in the ninth grade.

Duifje met Albert van Haren (b. 24 September 1918) through Duifje’s father in 1941 after the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. They received their civil marriage on April 10, 1942 and their Jewish marriage on April 15, 1942 in Gorinchem. Shortly before their wedding, Albert’s brother Joseph was arrested and murdered at Mauthausen. In August, 1942, Albert became a member of the Joodsche Raad voor Amsterdam (the Jewish Council of Amsterdam) in order to delay his deportation. Despite this, Nazis came to deport Albert, Duifje and Duifje’s father and stepmother on October 15, 1942; Albert and Duifje successfully escaped through their back door, however Duifje’s father and stepmother were arrested and murdered at Auschwitz. The couple hid with the assistance of Samuel’s friend who was a member of the resistance. Later that year, Duifje’s brother Philip along with his wife and child were also deported and murdered at Auschwitz.

Duifje and Albert moved through various hiding places until the Netherlands was liberated on May 4, 1945. Following the War, the couple adopted a Jewish war orphan and had four more children together. In 1952, Duifje’s brother Samuel moved to Canada with his family, and the van Haren family applied to move to New Zealand but were rejected. In 1953 they moved to Canada due to the onset of the Korean War and fears of another war in Europe; they first lived in Edmonton, and then in Calgary for twenty years. The couple retired in Victoria, where Albert died on November 18, 1980. Duifje moved to a retirement home in Vancouver, where she passed away on September 17, 2021.
NotesBiographical information was sourced from: