Elizabeth Vander Kaden

June 25, 1913 ~ August 1, 2006

Elizabeth Vander Kaden, 93, passed away Tuesday, August 1, 2006 in Knoxville, at Shannondale Health Care Center. Elizabeth was a former resident of Appalachian Christian Village. She was born in Schiedam, the Netherlands and was the widow of Willem Vander Kaden. Elizabeth and her husband were active in the underground during the Second World War when the Nazi occupied and oppressed the country. They sheltered a Jewish toddler who was given in their care when the child?s parents were deported to the death camp at Auschwitz. Elizabeth took a great deal of personal risk when she and her husband decided to protect the little girl they named Sonja. People caught helping the Jews often met the same fate. After the war it became evident that the child?s parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were killed in concentration camps. She and her husband then became her foster parents. Her name will be added to the list of Righteous Gentiles, a memorial at the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem in Israel. In 1952 Elizabeth, her husband and Sonja started a new life in the United States. The three settled in New Jersey where she took a position in the local high school cafeteria. She subsequently learned to speak English and obtained her dietician?s license. Several years later she became a school crossing guard with the Park Ridge, NJ school system. In the early seventies she and her husband moved to Tennessee where their daughter and family settled. She lived in the Appalachian Christian Village until 2002 when she became a resident at Marshall Voss Health Care Center in Rockwood, TN. She is survived by her sister, Gertruida Den Held as well as nieces and nephews in the Netherlands; her daughter and son-in-law Sonja and Ron DuBois of Knoxville; granddaughter, Monique DuBois and Elise Chapman of Shiloh, Georgia. She leaves five great-grandchildren and her nephew John Vander Kaden in Canada. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Johnson City. In lieu of flowers: donations may be made to: Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Remembrance Authority, P.O.Box 3477, Jerusalem 91034. A graveside service is scheduled for Monday, August 7, 2006 in the Monte Vista Memorial Park, under the direction of Pastor Don Muncie. A visitation will immediately follow the service at the church, 105 S. Boone St., Johnson City.

Memories Timeline


  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear Ron, Sonja, Monique, and Elise, I am so sorry to hear of your dear mother/grandmother’s passing. You may not remember me from the days at First Presbyterian, but I surely treasure my memories of your family! I have thought of Monique and Elise so many times and have related to my family some of the happy, funny stories of the times with you there. My Mom (Jeanette Houston) was at Appalachian Christian Village from December, 1996 to October, 2005; so I talked with your “Oma” a good many times during that period and had several fascinating visits with her. Even getting to know you and visiting with your Mom, I never knew your story, Sonja, until reading it just now. How great is our God to have preserved your life and brought you safely through so many hardships! I pray that He will comfort you all as only He can in these coming months and that He will open doors of blessing and ministry that you never imagined possible. At this point, I’m not sure if I can make it to the service or visitation. With the often-surprising schedules of our four children (ages 11-21), I’ve gotten very cautious about making promises, but please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and that I think of you fondly and with real gratitude for your friendship during my years at First Pres. My e-mail addy is if you would like to correspond. God bless you all and may His peace and love cocoon you through this time of grief. Under His wing, Barbara Houston

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Shifra-Sonja-Clara, as I was able to visit with you and family week while in Knoxville for the service and since, I have found myself thinking particularly of Matthew 6:14b, “deliver us from evil” and Matthew 18:2-5, “And calling to him a child … Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me”, and from Torah, Devarim (Deuteronomay) 5:10, “showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments”, even those without child of own flesh, and sovereignty and providence in mercy from generation to generation on those who fear the Holy One of Israel, scatterer of proud, demoter of mighty, filling hungry with good things. My own words fail. Surely that One has honored me and my house well beyond any deserving in allowing us to listen in on the story of your own. As I may have told you after the service, and have told several others since, I found myself thinking utter astonishment and awe at the hillside that such small box and small hill could hold such, even unassuming of whom none would ever guess apart from the hearing, giant of grace. Certainly in her life she herself honored her fathers and mothers of both flesh and faith (Devarim 10:16), and Hashem of that grace even through peril truly gave her long days in the land he gives us all, and from and in them and their number, and even our own, to find share of comfort, l’alam ul’almei almaya.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Sonja – I’m am so deeply sorry for your loss. Your mother had a truly inspiring life. Just know my prayers are with you at this sad time. Love and hugs, Janis

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear Sonja, Ron and girls: I am so sorry to read of your mother’s death. I last saw her in Johnson City and had quite a long talk with her about all of you. She certainly was an exceptional woman whose passing will be noted by many. I will not be able to see you in person at the funeral service because I am in England and won’t get back until late August. I am visiting my cousin Jennifer who used to sing with us in Sweet Adelines. She was just asking me about you yesterday. I was sorry to have to tell her that I had pretty much lost touch with you but that I did know that you were in Knoxville. That’s just not right that we live only a hundred miles apart and never see each other. I have always valued your friendship and we shouldn’t let it just disappear. I will call you the next time I am in Knoxville. I think of you often and miss all of you. Please know that my thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Phyllis

  5. Anonymous says:

    Her remembrance will be a blessed example of a righteous Dutch escaping into the world to take enough distance from misery and threats. You know, Schifrah, Ron and all Yours, that I never knew her, but nevertheless she occupies a nice small niche in my heart and I can feel that you all suffered a great loss. May her offspring fill the gap, as it is meant to be. Wishing you all the strength needed. Tsvik The Hague The Netherlands

  6. Anonymous says:

    My Dearest Sonja, Ron and family. My heart is with you at this time of loss and sorrow. Sonja you are such a special person in my life. Meeting you though our mutual friends in our Knitting community has expanded my life, touching it in many ways. My thoughts and Prayers are with you and your loved ones. Peggy Husk

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sonja, Thanks for the notice of your “Mom’s” passing. Diane & I wish you & Ron the best. She was a great & courageous lady. You have some great memories of her. Watching older loved ones deteriorate isn’t fun. Been there, done that. Keep in touch. Billy

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sonja, Ron, Monique and Elise, John Wilkins called to let us know of the passing of your mother. We haven’t seen you in quite some time, but you have been in our thoughts more than you know. We are so grateful for the work of your mother’s life, to protect and raise you, so that we could have the chance to enter into community and friendship with you these decades later. Because of our friendship with you, your mother has touched us all. She is a true inspiration to all of us. We pray that God’s comfort and peace rest upon you now and always. Sincerely, William and Charlene

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sonja, Thanks so much for sending us the web site. I’m sorry we didn’t know that your mother had died on Tuesday. Please accept our sympathy. We are so glad to have her life story. We’ll be thinking of you in the next few days. Love, Edith and Alex

  10. Anonymous says:

    Your mother was a grand lady, Sonja. She will be missed. I am looking forward to when we can get together again, and you can tell us more stories about her. I wish I could come with John tomorrow, but I cannot. You and Ron, the girls, and the grandkids are in our prayers. We are glad you have each other during life’s hard times. Love, Cheryl

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