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Dirk van Schaik

Dirk van Schaik lived in the city of Gouda, South Holland, next to the Catharinehoeve, the hachshara farm which housed a group of Zionist youths, both German-born and Dutch, during the late thirties and early forties. Dirk was a laborer in the candle-making factory in Gouda and, as a Roman Catholic, had a large family. The family lived next door to the farm and Dirk's first contact with the residents of the home was when, for some extra income, he performed various tasks for the residents of the Catharinehoeve on the Sabbath.

Through this weekly visit to the hachshara home, Dirk became friends with the group, and, after a while, became one of the agricultural assistants at the farm. In 1943, the situation in Gouda grew ever more threatening and the directors of the home, Manfred and Shoshana Litten, decided to have all the youngsters under their direction go underground. Dirk helped them in their efforts to find places and after, when the youngsters were all taken care of, he provided them for two years with food coupons and false documents, serving as an escort when they needed to move from place to place.

As the Littens were themselves in hiding, and were later deported, Dirk felt responsible for the youngsters in hiding and his whole life became centered around the effort to save their lives. In this he was assisted by his wife, his children, and his superiors at the factory, who inevitably noticed his numerous absences from work but never investigated into the cause. Dirk never received any recompense for his work during these years and did not expect any.

On November 1, 1979, Yad Vashem recognized Dirk van Schaik as Righteous among the Nations.

Sources: Yad Vashem