December 6 1944, a date that means little to most but a lot to me.


This is one of my most personal blogs, having that said there still will be people saying it is ‘fake news’.

As the title says the 6th of December 1944 will mean little to most but it means a lot to me. It is the day that one of my uncles died. What makes this special to me is that my mother always told me I reminded her of him. We had the same mannerisms and even way of talking, although I was born long after he died.

His name was Johannes Jager, he moved with my grand parents and his siblings  from Friesland in the North of the Netherlands to Limburg in the south east of the country. They settled in the town where I was born,Geleen. In the suburb Lindenheivel.


There are no pictures of him for my family were basically immigrants, even though it was in the same small country. In the 1920/1930s it was the equivalent of moving across the globe now/ They had to leave everything behind.

All that I heard about him is that he was a kind and generous man. He had poor health though, I am not clear om what his ailments were but suffice to say his parents worried about him.

When war broke out he wasn’t able to serve in the army, it would have done not much good anyway. But he did his bit as much as he could.

He did not join any organized resistance group but he would do his own individual actions, by sneaking on to farms of well to do farmers, some  actually did well under German occupation, and he would steel a chicken here or there,eggs or grain and flour to make bread. He would give it to his parents but also to others who were in need.

He knew that id he would ever get caught he would face dire consequences, potentially death. One day he nearly got caught, he and a friend were out stealing things when they came across a German patrol.


They literally had to run for their lives, they encountered a few empty barrels and jumped in them.

The Germans shot the barrel that held my uncle’s friend, he got killed immediately, but some stroke of luck they left Johannes’s barrel alone. When the coast was clear he got out and went home.

He never stole from the farmers again.

On September 18 1944, Geleen was liberated

Vrij Geleen

Johannes did see the liberation but the strain of the war and his ill health proved too much, he died on December 6 1944, the day when the Dutch celebrate St Nicholas.

I would have loved to have met him but although I never did I feel a part of him lives in me and he will forever be one of my heroes.


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  1. christah2014 says:

    I was touched by your story, the history of a family living through a hideous time and coming out the other side. I have written a book that deals with the Holocaust. It is a fiction about a woman who finds she is reincarnated from the time of the Holocaust. I tried to give little snapshots of life for different people in different positions during that time. I would like to post this on the book Facebook page, if you will give me permission. I saw a share on Facebook button, but I wanted to ask your permission first. Here is the link to the page so you can see it before you make a decision. or you can share it yourself if you’d rather. Thank you. I am Christa Hedrick,


    1. dirkdeklein says:

      Hi Christa, that’s fine please by all means share it.


    2. I have a story coming out this year following a young boy from Friesdland who was hid at various farms by the no name underground. His older brother was on active duty, near the front as war broke out. He managed to get to the UK and came seeking his family as soon as the war ended. He was a driver for the Red Ball Express. The subject of my story eventually moved to the USA with his new wife. Pretty terrifying time to be in Friesland.


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