War Hero & Author
Dutch American Heritage Award 2004 Recipient
From wartime freedom fighter and RAF bomber pilot, to blockade runner, NBC vice-president and tramp in New York’s Central Park, Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema has had a truly extraordinary life.
Born on Java in 1917, Erik hitchhiked and rode freight trains across the USA in the 1930s and wrote his first best seller “Rendezvous in San Francisco”. As a law student at Leiden University when the Second World War broke out, he escaped to England from German-occupied Holland but returned several times as an undercover agent for MI6, the British secret service. He later won the Distinguished Flying Cross serving as a Mosquito pilot with the RAF’s elite Pathfinder Force. He ended the war by returning to the Netherlands as an aide to Queen Wilhelmina, who knighted him for his services with Holland’s highest decoration.
Erik’s postwar life was no less turbulent and spanned the globe. His activities ranged from sales clerk and actor in Hollywood to blockade runner off New Guinea and from Director of Radio Free Europe for the CIA to oil prospector in Israel. Since 1968 he has devoted his life to writing books. His most recent book, the autobiographical “In Pursuit of Life” was published in 2003.
He now lives in Hawaii with his wife Karin.