A Story of Bravery and Compassion

Dutch Reverend and His Wife Recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” Recognition Ceremony, Vancouver, BC

  • CSYV’s Josh Hacker and Consul General Galit Baram present the Righteous Among the Nations award to Reverend Dirk Pieter Kalkman and Klaasje Kalkman, accepted on their behalf by their grandson and great-grandson.

On November 7, 2018, Reverend Dirk Pieter Kalkman and his wife, Klaasje Kalkman (née Kuipers), were posthumously awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by CSYV and the Consulate General of Israel in Toronto and Western Canada. The family was recognized at a special ceremony in front of 250 people at the Norman Rothstein Theatre at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver.

Peter Kalkman, Dirk and Klassje’s grandson, and Matthew Kalkman, their great-grandson, accepted the award on the Kalkman’s behalf. Many members of the Kalkman family present at the emotional ceremony.

  • Matthew Kalkman, left, and Peter Kalkman accepted the award on behalf of their grandparents and great-grandparents Reverend Dirk Pieter and Klaasje Kalkman (Rhonda Dent Photo)
Matthew Kalkman, left, and Peter Kalkman accepted the award on behalf of their grandparents and great-grandparents Reverend Dirk Pieter and Klaasje Kalkman (Rhonda Dent Photo)

The honour is given to gentiles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, and the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem (CSYV) has the responsibility and privilege of recognizing “Righteous among the Nations” or their descendants who made Canada their home for their post-war lives. Ester Driham, CSYV’s National Executive Director released a statement about the importance of recognizing gentiles who aided Jews to escape the horrors of the Holocaust:

“Righteous Among the Nations were ordinary men and women who demonstrated extraordinary courage during the Holocaust “These individuals from various backgrounds across Europe had a common characteristic: conviction in the responsibility to help, guided by moral choices.”

Galit Baram, Consul General of Israel in Toronto and Western Canada also released a statement about the legacy of the Righteous Among the Nations:

“The people of Israel and Jews the world over will forever be grateful to them for bringing light and hope during mankind’s darkest hour.”

Peter Kalkman’s father, Wim (and Dirk’s son), had long wished that his parent’s heroism be recognized, but he died in 2013 before he could see his dream come true. Matthew Kalkman undertook the task after Wim died. Working with researchers in the Netherlands, Matthew was able to find evidence of what had happened.

The Kalkmans hid Catharina Six tot Oterleek-Kuipers, a Jewish woman, at their house in Moordrecht, Netherlands, during the Holocaust despite putting themselves and their family at great risk by harbouring a Jew from the Nazis.  This act of bravery and compassion Catharina from meeting the same fate of other Jews from Moordrecht who were sent to Auschwitz. Catharina’s own extended family members perished in concentration camps in Sobibor and Auschwitz.

To read more about this Righteous Among the Nations story click here

Canadian Society for Yad Vahsem holds exceptional stories of “Righteous Among the Nations” in written forms and video testimonies. Click here to view our collection.