Dirk (94) finally sees his ‘flood baby’ again after 70 years: “Now I can rest”

It worked! Dirk Marees from Den Oever has finally found his ‘baby’; the child he saved during the 1953 flood disaster. He never got to see the child at the time. Until yesterday. “It was an embrace as if they had known each other for years.”

It is the beginning of February 1953 when Dirk Marees, as a young fisherman’s assistant, takes 68 Zeelanders on board at Ouwerkerk, together with three colleagues. After a grueling journey, the victims of the flood disaster were dropped off at the Wemeldinge lock. One rescue has always stayed with Dirk; still a baby, wrapped in a blanket. He never saw whether it was a boy or a girl or what became of it.

Dirk previously told NH News how he pulled a child out of a mother’s arms to safely put it ashore: “She asked the others my name and then she kept shouting ‘Dirk, Dirk, you think about my child eh? God will reward you.” And then I disembarked that child, wrapped in a blanket, shuffling over a plank, to shore.”

Text continues below Dirk Marees’ story about his search for the ‘baby’.

A long search has led to a 70-year-old woman. Her mother’s story is very similar to Dirk’s, says Tiny van Teulingen of the Historical Association Wieringen. It is that association that has done everything possible to find the ‘baby’. Yesterday it was finally time: Dirk and his ‘baby’ met each other. From Teulingen: “Heyt was incredible. As if they had known each other for years. So beautiful.”

Dirk is still very emotional. His wish has been fulfilled and he is silent about it, says Van Teulingen: “He was able to hold her for a while again. I think that was very important for Dirk. They talked a lot and asked questions. Dirk another big hug. That says enough.”

And Dirk himself? “It was great. I have now found peace. Now I can close my eyes in peace.”