Remembering Dutch resistance fighter and chemical engineer Hans Deeg

Hans Deeg joined the Dutch resistance to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands quickly after the nation was invaded in 1940. “Their actions included serving to Jews conceal and in any other case keep away from arrest and deportation to jail and loss of life camps, serving to downed Allied airmen escape seize and return to their bases in Britain, and customarily making life as tough as doable for the Nazis,” says his son Frank Deeg. “This was harmful work, and Hans, as did many others, needed to go underground not solely to keep away from arrest himself, but in addition to guard his household from arrest and sure execution.”

Born Johan Frans Deeg in Deventer within the province of Overijssel, Netherlands, Hans was the second baby of Johann Deeg, a gross sales consultant for the Royal Dutch Carpet Manufacturing unit, one of many Netherlands’ oldest and largest carpet producers, and his spouse Jacoba Neidig, a volunteer with quite a few charities. From an early age, Hans loved music and performed the violin.

Hans attended elementary and highschool in Deventer and had simply entered the Delft College of Expertise to check chemical engineering when the struggle started.

Together with older sister Betty and her husband, Hans labored for the resistance till the struggle resulted in 1945. Though he by no means mentioned that he was afraid, “after the struggle, that a part of Hans’ life was positioned ‘in storage’ and was successfully saved hidden,” says Frank. “He was reluctant to speak about these misplaced years, however by no means let the recollections of these perilous occasions negatively have an effect on his life.”

Following the struggle, Hans resumed his research at Delft, graduating with honours in 1948. Together with his spouse Elly van Zonneveld and toddler son Frank, Hans emigrated to Indonesia, Elly’s birthplace. There, he landed his first job as a chemical engineer and he and Elly had a second son, Bart. “Nonetheless, the Second World Battle resulted in Indonesia changing into an impartial nation, making life problematic for Dutch residents dwelling and dealing there,” says Frank. “Canada, with an rising and quickly rising oil business, beckoned brightly.”

Becoming a member of 1000’s of Dutch immigrants coming to Canada, in 1952 the household settled in Sarnia, the place Hans labored for the Canadian Oil Firm. Subsequent got here a job on the Los Angeles-based Fluor Company, which designed and constructed chemical and processing crops and refineries. The household’s time within the U.S. was brief lived, as Hans and Elly most popular the Canadian schooling system for his or her sons. The household returned to Sarnia in 1959, and Hans resumed working for Canadian Oil.

In 1963, when Shell Canada purchased Canadian Oil, Hans was transferred to Shell’s head workplace in Toronto, the place the household lived for the following 51 years.

A loyal household man, Hans was married to Elly for 73 years. “Elly, born and raised in Indonesia, had arrived within the Netherlands along with her mother and father after the struggle, having spent virtually 4 years in Japanese jail camps throughout the Japanese occupation of what was then nonetheless the Dutch East Indies,” says Frank. “Each Hans and Elly had skilled the horrors, ache, and lack of struggle, and this may occasionally have contributed to sparking their lifelong love.” Within the Eighties they grew to become grandparents to Christina and Philip, and extra not too long ago great-grandparents to “Little” Elly and Daisy.

“Dad was all the time a devoted father in introducing us to many actions equivalent to scouting and snowboarding,” says Bart.

After their sons had left dwelling, Hans and Elly started to sponsor kids dwelling in growing international locations in Africa, South America and Asia. “A lot time was spent not simply in conserving in contact with these kids and their households,” Frank says, “but in addition in making garments and toys for them and sending frequent care packages.” In 1979, when Canada accepted tens of 1000’s of Vietnamese refugees following the tip of the Vietnam Battle, Hans was concerned within the marketing campaign to help the immigrants arriving in Toronto, serving to them to seek out housing and employment and to enroll their kids in colleges. “Hans and Elly discovered their efforts deeply rewarding and shaped 40-plus-year friendships with a number of of the Vietnamese households that settled in Islington,” says Frank.

Hans retired from Shell as a senior course of engineer in 1987, however briefly returned to work as a advisor, earlier than wrapping up his 40-year profession.

In retirement, Hans loved music (a lifelong fan of jazz, he was a member of the Toronto chapter of the Duke Ellington Society) and travelling the world with Elly: to Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Switzerland, Portugal, the Canary Islands, and Ecuador, amongst many different locations. Though the couple returned to the Netherlands each few years to go to household and sightsee, because the nation modified since they first left in 1948, Hans and Elly (who grew to become Canadian residents within the early ’70s) “thought-about Canada their dwelling,” says Frank.

Whereas dwelling in California, Hans heard a couple of self-awareness studying method known as Science of Thoughts, Bart says. He later grew to become a practitioner, internet hosting group discussions associated to the teachings of the non secular and philosophical spiritual motion.

However an important classes he handed on to his sons, Frank says, had been “his ever-evident thoughtfulness and useful nature. He was very self-reliant and all the time approached life with a constructive, can-do perspective.”


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