Dan was born on 2 September 1928 in Berlin to Max, who owned a textile store, and Hannah, a homemaker. Until 1939, Dan studied in the Jewish school on Klopstockstraße. In December of that year, he made aliyah with a certificate (visa) which he received via his relatives in the Land of Israel. However, his parents were unable to join him, and they were ultimately taken to the concentration camps, where they perished in 1945.
After aliyah, Dan studied in the Ben Yehuda Gymnasium in Tel Aviv, where his teacher was none other than Dr. Israel “Eldad” Scheib, Lehi Central Committee member.
When he was seventeen, Dan joined the Jewish Settlement Police and served a year at Kibbutz Huldah.
At age eighteen, he enlisted in Lehi. His commander was Anshel “Aryeh” Shpilman, and he mainly dealt with communications. As time went on, his underground activities became all-consuming, so that he could no longer work for a living, so he received a stipend.
In 1948, he enlisted in the IDF together with all of his underground comrades (after they assembled at Sheikh Munis), and like most of them, he ended up in Battalion 82 of the 8th Brigade. He operated Company C’s Besa heavy machine gun. He participated in Operation Danny, at Auja al-Hafir. Afterwards, he was made the battalion culture sergeant.
In 1952, he married Malka Fatoline, and the couple had two sons (Motti and Shai) and numerous grandchildren. 1952 was also the year he began pursing an engineering degree in Tel Aviv, a field in which he worked until he retired.