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The Silent Heroes: A Memoir of Holland During World War II is a true story of heroism, survival, and resistance by ordinary people living during extraordinary times.
World War II was marked by fear, despair, and hardship for those living under Nazi occupation. Author Hans Moederzoon van Kuilenburg was a 10-year-old girl living in Amsterdam, when German soldiers invaded Holland in the spring of 1940. The Dutch wanted to stay neutral in the war because its military was no match for the Germans. But within five days, Holland had fallen. The next five years were among the darkest in Dutch history, culminating in the “hunger winter” of 1944, in which 30,000 Dutch people died of hunger and cold.
Ordinary citizens like the author’s father fought back in any way they could to mitigate the German war machine. A civilian supervisor of marine supplies, he stole food and clothing from the Germans to feed and clothe Dutch people in need. Eventually his activities attracted notice and he was imprisoned. Says van Kuilenburg, “My mother, with the help of our family doctor, got him out of the claws of the so feared SS. This is his story and that of other Dutch heroes who risked their own lives to help others.”
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