on December 10, 2013
My grandmother, a widow with 8 children (my mother was the youngest) were dairy farmers. They hid the onderduikers throughout the war, and every day during the hungry winter fed between 15-20 people who walked up from Amsterdam to Wervershoof. Oma fed them "a cheese sandwich and glass of warm milk" each night, put them up in hayloft, and sent them off with another "sandwich and warm milk" each morning to find another place to rest as she knew another 15-20 souls would come to her door that night. Before they went to the hayloft, Oma had them remove their shoes and give up their valuables and identification papers which she kept in the house overnight for safe keeping. In the morning, everything was returned. This book has provided additional information about the bombing and destruction that I had never heard about. The dutch were truly resilient and I am proud to be a descendent.
on April 5, 2008
This is wonderful story about an ordinary family living through a horrific time in history. The young couple (Gerrit & Cor) try to shield their 5 children from the horrors going on in the world around them, while making sure they have enough to eat. We find out that they are not always able to protect their children. Although Gerrit , the father, makes a good living with his Market Garden, the Germans commandeer much of his produce for Germany, so that during the last year of the war, his wife, Cor, rides many miles on her bicycle trading family possessions for food. The devotion of Gerrit & Cor and the love they have for their children and extended family in near-by towns is well portrayed amid the ghastly treatment handed out to the Dutch population by the German occupiers.The everyday life of a family living under such dire circumstances really comes alive, and makes one feel guilty for the little things we grumble about today. We often talk about how "stressed" we are, but it is quite unimagineable to have endured the life of this young family who were just one among thousands. It is understandable why no one wanted to talk about it. The battles and atrocities of the war have been well-researched. The parallel story of the Dutch Royal family, suffering similar tribulations as the ordinary denHartog family makes a good contrast of both ends of the economic scale. Gerrit & Cor's granddaughters have written a beautiful and loving tribute.
on July 7, 2013
This book is so nicely written that it captivates the reader with its unique writing style. I was not sure the first few pages, I stress only the first couple of pages, this was due to the unique writing style. Once I was drawn in it was difficult to "put the book" down (in my case e-reader). The authors bring the characters, the war years, and the liberation, as they were experienced in Holland ,alive, without depressing the reader. I wish I could better articulate what a captivating and honest book this is. The reader will not be left disappointed.
on April 15, 2012
"The Occupied Garden" tells the story of a Dutch family coping with German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. The unpredictability of what the occupiers would inflict next made life precarious. We get not only an accurate picture of what life was like in Holland at the time, but also the wider aspects of national and international influences shaping the conduct of the war. The role of Canadian soldiers liberating Holland is passionately conveyed, explaining Dutch gratitude to this day. The family's emigration to Canada in 1951 reveals the aspirations of a large number of war-weary people. The book is of great relevance to understanding the special bond that exists between the Dutch and Canadians. Authors Kristen den Hartog and Tracy Kasaboski are to be congratulated for digging into family history and bringing the story to life in a modern context.
on November 22, 2012
Excellent service. The book is an outstanding summary of life in Holland prior to WW II, the occupation by Germany in 1940 and the liberation by the allies( Canadians) in 1944-45. Based on an actual family, the personal stories are very gripping. The book is very well written, easy to read, and hard to put down.