Flory Van Beek, a longtime Newport Beach resident and author who immigrated to the United States after escaping the Holocaust by hiding in Nazi-occupied Holland, has died of cancer. She was 95.
Van Beek, a faithful volunteer at Temple Isaiah in Newport Beach, died Wednesday at her Newport Beach home, said the temple's Rabbi Marc Rubenstein, who was by Mrs. Van Beek's side at her death.
"She was a wonderful woman, very warm and generous," Rubenstein said Friday. "I want to honor her memory. It's important that we honor her memory."
Born Dec. 3, 1914, Van Beek eventually chronicled her story in a book in 1990. It was called "Flory: Survival in the Valley of Death," in which she describes how she and future husband, Felix Van Beek, tried to flee the Germans in November 1939 aboard a 400-passenger ship.
However, the ship, the S.S. Simon Bolivar, which was on its way to South America, struck a German mine in the North Sea. More than 100 passengers perished. Felix and Flory were among 274 survivors, who were eventually treated in England.