The Occupied Garden

The Occupied Garden

A Family Memoir of War-torn Holland

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
Looks at the lives and experiences of market gardener Gerrit den Hartog and his wife Cor during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.

McMillan Palgrave

The Occupied Garden is the powerful true story of a market gardener and his fiercely devout wife who were living a simple life in Holland when the Nazis invaded in 1940. During the subsequent occupation, Gerrit and Cor den Hartog struggled to keep their young family from starving and from being broken up in an era of intimidation, disappearances, and bombings -- until one devastating day when they found they were unable to protect their children from the war.

It wasn’t until long after Gerrit and Cor’s deaths that their granddaughters began to piece their story together; combing through Dutch archives, family lore, and a neighbor’s wartime diary, den Hartog and Kasaboski have lovingly and seamlessly recreated their grandparents’ wartime years. The result is an extraordinary tale of strife and hardship that contains moments of breathtaking courage -- a young mother’s bicycle journey of two hundred miles to find food for her children, a brother and sister’s desperate escape into unoccupied France, a pastor forced into hiding for encouraging acts of resistance -- with a cast of characters that includes the exiled Dutch royal family, Adolf Hitler, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill. But it is Gerrit and Cor who take center stage in what is ultimately a deeply moving love story of a man and woman who drew strength from each other throughout those difficult years.

Poignant and unforgettable, The Occupied Garden is a testament to the resiliency of ordinary people living in an extraordinary time, written by two sisters determined to keep their family history alive.

Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2009
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780312561574
Branch Call Number: 940.53 Den Hartog 2009
Characteristics: xiv, 316 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm


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Sep 28, 2015

A memoir about the author's very private grandparents and their children set in wartime Holland. Gerrit is a market gardener and his wife Cor, serious and devout, endure Nazi-induced hardships in five years of occupation.
Juxtaposed with her grandparents’ story are those of the Dutch royal family, those of some of the occupiers and neighbors. Interesting how she pieced the stories together.


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