Resistance on a Bicycle

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Xulon Press, 2007 - Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) - 340 pages
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Biography of Dirk van Leenen He was born in 1940 just after the war had begun in The Netherlands. He is married to Cynthia June van Leenen. Together they have seven children and seventeen grandchildren They live in Arizona. Dirk has spent his life working with flowers. He has several degrees in Horticulture and floral design. His interest in English Literature began when he was still living in Holland. At the University of Leiden he studied English and he worked a number of years in Holland as an English teacher. For years he used to tell stories about his experiences during the Second World War in Holland. His children and grandchildren always urged him to write a book about those difficult times With Dirk's mother being Jewish, his parents were actively taking care of Jews. It is out of their stories, anecdotes, and Dirk's memories that this book has been written. Dirk has talked to many Holocaust survivors and gathered stories which have never before been told.

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I have met the author by accident , or was it a Divine appointment , at the Post Office. He was mailing his books out , and I was curious about their content . He gave a book mark of a trilogy of books he had written . I have always been fascinated about the history of World War II . I was impressed with the book mark and asked him about the books . He said they were novels , and yet his personal experiences as a boy during the Germans overtaking of Holland . A few days later he brought me the first book , " Resistance on a Bicycle ", and said it was for me for free . He had already signed it for me and I read it and could hardly put it down . The atrocities the Jews went through in hiding from the Germans , and unfortunately for those who were caught and shipped off in trains like cattle , was so inhumane that many to this day still can't believe it ever happened . The prison camps were a lie to these people to get them there without questioning the Germans , only to gas them and incinerate them . I was really impressed with the way his father and he rode on a bicycle , for miles and miles , to distribute fake ID's and food rationing coupons . In all , I just feel like I know this man a little better now having read his account even at that young age . The book became more personable to me . I am now reading the second book entitled , " The Americans are coming !! " . 

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It is a story at once too horrific, too impassioned, and too triumphant to be true…and yet it is. Dirk Van Leenen’s biography reads like a fictional masterpiece. “Resistance On A Bicycle” follows the story of young Cornelius (based on Van Leenen), his parents and the defiant Dutch town that gives up their own safety to protect the Jews during WWII.
Cornelius’ mother is a Jew who, by a simple clerical error, didn’t have her maiden name recorded in the official record when she married a gentile. It is that oversight that keeps her from being killed by the Nazis. It is her husband’s kindness, charity and honor that keep his family – and the Jews hidden beneath his floorboards - alive.
“Once, when Cornelius was only three-years-old, he had thought they were playing a game of hide and seek and he was ready to help the soldiers, to give them hints where to look. His mother, Johanna, had quickly pulled him away from the scene, putting her finger on her mouth as a gesture which he understood very well: keep it a secret. That made the game even more exciting for him.”
“Resistance On A Bicycle” is a novel, but all the stories are true. Many of the tales are compilations Van Leenen gathered from other WWII survivors. Each chapter is a movingly written saga in itself; the previously forgotten heroes who risked their own lives to save the lives of people they’d never met.
Van Leenen takes the reader along with the members of the Resistance as they dress Jews as farm workers and hide “God’s Chosen People” on ambulance gurneys beneath real wounded soldiers. The reader watches as men are dressed as women and women as men to make fake ID’s. The reader fears for the safety of the elderly Dutch neighbor who risks her own life purely for the payment of hearing someone she’s aided has survived the war.
“The Resistance was everywhere and the Germans would never be able to defeat such a determined people.”
“Resistance On a Bicycle” was written at the urging of Van Leenen’s grandchildren – and is a poignant tribute to the author’s father, “Kees.” Early in the book the great man is handcuffed, thrown in jail, and questioned by the Gestapo. “When Kees was thrown into the cell,” writes Van Leenen, “he fell on his knees and prayed for his enemy. ‘Lord, give them compassion and wisdom. Please let them be humane.’ The Gestapo was never humane.”
It is a credit to Van Leenen’s skill as a storyteller that Cornelius na´vetÚ comes across even as the boy is witnessing unimaginable cruelty. It is a credit to Van Leenen’s powerful words that the struggle of a father to both shelter his boy’s innocence – and protect his boy from danger - is so clearly and painfully portrayed.
Eventually, Van Leenen relates Kees explaining to his child, “This is not a game son, this is called war.”
“Resistance On A Bicycle” is more than a biography. It is more than a novel. It is the moving story of a father and son that will stay with every parent who turns its pages long after the saga has ended.
The reader has no choice but to reflect on whom their own life has touched, to question their own heroism and to wonder: Do any of us have the strength of character to risk our families to save the lives of families we’ve never met?


The Boy
The Workers in the Underground
The Occupation Leadership
The Singing Box
The Razzia
The Message
Resistance as an Artist
A Narrow Escape
The source of Resist
The Hunger Winter
The Dutch and the Dutch Jews
The Jewish Council
A Dangerous Monk
How they kept going
Orphanages for Jewish Children
Saving Lives and Saving the Pig

The Ambulance Builders
The Haystack
The Secret Meeting
The Way to Freedom
The Illegal Press
The Most Secret Meeting
Life under the Floor
Attack on the Generals
Trouble on the Way Back
The Evacuation of City Children
Many Roads which Led to Freedom
At Home in The Hague
The City Children
The Suffering of the Jews
Operation Isolation
Escape from Auschwitz 25 Moving the Driven and the Dislodged
The Factories of the War Machine
Distribution of Food Stamps
A Trip to Freedom
A Second Truck
From Farm to farm
Israel is Calling
The Israel Connection
Always a Step Ahead of the Nazis
Jumping from a Train
NSBer Redeemed
CorneliusLittle Farm
Bicycles Seized
A Different Kind of Guest
Pigeon Eggs
Arriving in Palestine
The Value of Food
Released from CampWesterbork
Razzia Again and Again
Anything Which Can Burn
The Zionist Council
The NSBer Prison
The Old Spy
The attack on the Jail
A Rabbis Questions

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