Tonight begins Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance day here in Israel.
This post is in memory of my Father Ehud (Edward) Fresco and the Kalf family that risked their own lives by hiding my Dad.
My Dad past away 45 years ago, but his amazing story will live on through me as long as I am blessed with time on this earth.
My Dad’s Rescue Story as told 1st hand from one of the Kalf family members who saved my Dad, via Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum:
One of the Kalff children, Frits, then eight years old, remembers:
“One night in 1942, all of a sudden, there was three-year-old Eddy Fresco; he cried for his father and mother, and I tried to calm him down by singing for him.”
Edward (Eddy), born December 6, 1938, was the only son of John and Sophie Fresco from The Hague. In the late summer of 1942, the Fresco family received their orders to report for “work in the East”. That same evening they informed their lodger, Piet Poldervaart that he had to find a new home. Piet immediately informed his sister Emma, who was active in an underground cell, and told the Frescos not to report. Instead, they would help find hiding addresses for them.
Little Eddy was taken by bike to Joan and Christiana Kalff, friends of theirs, in the affluent town of Wassenaar, adjacent to The Hague. They knew that they could be counted on, as their opposition to the German regime was known to them.
The Kalffs had four children, in ages six to fourteen. Eddy was warmly welcomed and became the darling little brother of all. Even though some in the Kalff circle thought him to be Jewish, Joan and Christiana insisted that he was a family member. As a result, Eddy was allowed to play outside in the garden and sometimes in the street. He was even allowed to go to kindergarten.
Yet danger was never far — once a policeman stopped him, and being suspicious asked what his father did for a living. Eddy’s answer was that he was in hiding! Luckily this statement had no consequences for the boy.
Eddy soon began to call Joan and Christiana ‘pappa’ and ‘mamma’ and became fully integrated into family life. He was able to stay with the Kalff family for over two and a half years, until the liberation of the town in May 1945. Even during the Hungerwinter of 1944-1945, when food supply and fuel to the western parts of the country were cut off by the Germans, and the family as, all others, suffered from hunger and cold, Eddy was allowed to stay on.
In addition, the constant Allied bombing of The Hague and its surroundings toward the end of the war, added danger to all.
During this entire period, there was no contact whatsoever with the Fresco parents, who were being moved between hiding addresses, among other places also with the Poldervaarts*, and did not know the whereabouts of their son.
They all survived and Eddy returned to this biological family. However, the separation from the Kalffs was extremely difficult. He kept on writing to them and referring to them as ‘pappa’ and ‘mamma’. Contacts became less frequent after he emigrated with his parents to the United States at the end of the forties.
As an adult, he moved to Israel where he passed away at an early age. His wife and son have recently renewed contact with the Kalff children.
On August 31, 2008 Yad Vashem recognized Joan Henrik Albert Anton Kallf and Christiana Hebbelina Regnera Kalff-Francken as Righteous Among the Nations
Photo: The Kalf Family, maid and my Dad, Edward Fresco in the sailor outfit.