My Oma Lien


I am the daughter of Dutch immigrants. WWII was the defining moment in their lives. My paternal grandfather was executed by a German firing squad for being in the resistance movement. My paternal grandmother (in the photo) raised 6 kids on her own. My maternal grandparents started a new life in Canada in their 50’s to give their children the opportunity for a better life. My parents met in Montreal in the 1950's, having come separately from Holland. My dad told me the following story often: when Holland was trying to rebuild after WWII, they offered people the chance to immigrate- his choices were Australia or Canada. He could get a flight, a passport and $40. He chose Canada and landed in Montreal with that $40 in his pocket. By the afternoon of his arrival, he had a job and an apartment. My mother's family was sponsored by a Canadian family. My mother came six months ahead of her family and worked hard to set up an apartment for them all. Her dream was to get an University education- which she got after many years of taking one or two courses a semester. Her graduation was such a proud day for my family. I moved to the US in 2007 with my British husband for work reasons. My husband and I are now a new kind of immigrant. I am a proud Canadian living in the US on a green card. He is a Brit who is in the process of applying for his US citizenship. It is amazing the opportunities that $40, and lots of courage and hard work, can create.

Year: 2007

– Kristen van Ginhoven

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant