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4525-47a Avenue, Red Deer, AB T4N 6Z6
By: MAG Staff and Jentink Family
Addy (Zoetje Adriana) Heystek was born in February 1931. Her family lived close to the sea on Walcheren Island. The youngest of three children, she has fond memories from before the war including swimming at the nearby beach. She was 9 when the war began.
The first two years of the war were quiet. In 1942, Addy watched as her community was forced to change. She noticed the Jews were required to wear yellow stars and then more restrictions were imposed upon the entire community. Soon the bombings began, slowly at first then increasingly often. By 1943, Germans began taking men and sending them to work in factories and labour camps. These men included her older brother, who was sent to a labour camp first in Germany then Poland.
To rescue her brother, her father asked his doctor for a letter saying he had a heart problem and needed his son. It wasn’t enough, so her mother went to the hotel of the German Arch Commandant for his signature and approval. This trip was risky, but she made it safely. Addy’s brother was sent home for 3 weeks. During that time, the Dutch Resistance arranged a hiding place for him. He hid for the rest of the war.
In early November 1944, when the Battle of the River Scheldt started and the fighting took place in their city of Vlissingen, Addy’s family hid in their basement. The walls were thick, but they could still hear the fighting outside. Something was thrown into the basement, forcing them outside to the surprised liberators.
Image: School photo from book (bottom photo, she is the second from the left in the front row)
Addy married Jan Jentink in September 1953. Jan’s parents had immigrated to Canada immediately after the war. In 1954, Addy and Jan joined them in Claresholm, Alberta. After a few months, they moved to Red Deer. They, with their three children, moved around Alberta for Jan’s career until they settled in Red Deer.
Wedding Anniversary photo of Jan and Addy.