Resistance on a Bicycle

Front Cover
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?
 

Contents

The Boy
13
The Workers in the Underground
23
The Occupation Leadership
29
The Singing Box
31
The Razzia
33
The Message
37
Resistance as an Artist
41
A Narrow Escape
43
The source of Resist
165
The Hunger Winter
169
The Dutch and the Dutch Jews
173
The Jewish Council
187
A Dangerous Monk
191
How they kept going
203
Orphanages for Jewish Children
207
Saving Lives and Saving the Pig
211

The Ambulance Builders
49
The Haystack
55
The Secret Meeting
59
The Way to Freedom
61
The Illegal Press
65
The Most Secret Meeting
69
Life under the Floor
75
Attack on the Generals
79
Trouble on the Way Back
85
The Evacuation of City Children
91
Many Roads which Led to Freedom
95
At Home in The Hague
99
The City Children
107
The Suffering of the Jews
113
Operation Isolation
117
Escape from Auschwitz 25 Moving the Driven and the Dislodged
123
The Factories of the War Machine
129
Distribution of Food Stamps
137
A Trip to Freedom
147
A Second Truck
151
From Farm to farm
157
Israel is Calling
221
The Israel Connection
225
Always a Step Ahead of the Nazis
231
TheNSBer
245
Jumping from a Train
253
NSBer Redeemed
263
CorneliusLittle Farm
271
Bicycles Seized
275
A Different Kind of Guest
279
Pigeon Eggs
291
Arriving in Palestine
295
The Value of Food
299
Released from CampWesterbork
303
Razzia Again and Again
309
Anything Which Can Burn
315
The Zionist Council
319
The NSBer Prison
321
The Old Spy
325
The attack on the Jail
329
A Rabbis Questions
333
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