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Dutch Canadian Unicef official commemorated at local fair

Casualty of bomb at Baghdadís U.N. office

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LOCHEM, the Netherlands - A Canadian Christmas Fair held recently at a local restaurant had a very special meaning for event organizer Yvonne Swarthoff, born in Dawson Creek, BC. The restaurant owner dedicated this yearís event to her Dutch Canadian cousin Christopher Klein-Beekman (31) who was killed in Iraq in August 2003.

Klein-Beekman worked in Iraq for Unicef, the United Nations children fund. Earlier he had been posted in war-torn areas in Ethiopia and Kosovo. Klein-Beekman was killed in Bagdad when a car bomb detonated in the headquarters of the United Nations. At least twenty other people died, among them the UNís Special Envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Canada-born Christopher Klein-Beekman whose family lives on Vancouver Island, had studied for a number of years in Amsterdam and worked part-time in the family restaurant - Canadian Restaurant Mondani - in Lochem, an town in the eastern part of the Netherlands.

The restaurantís decor is filled with art and collectables from the British Columbia. Much of the collection was assembled by Mrs. Swarthoff, whose grandparents had emigrated to Canada in the 1950s.

Parts of the proceeds of the well-attended fair, went to Unicef.