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Escaping Occupied Europe (Paperback)

A Dutchman's Dangerous Journey to Join the Allies

WWII Military

By Hylke Faber, Pieter Stolk
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 152
Illustrations: 40
ISBN: 9781526741226
Published: 25th July 2018

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It is 1943, and in occupied Holland the Nazis have declared that all students must sign a Declaration of Loyalty, or face the penalty of forced labour in Germany. Medical student Daniël de Moulin refuses. A member of the Dutch resistance and in danger of being arrested and sentenced to death, he decides to escape to England and join the Allies to fight the Axis occupation of his motherland.

Escaping Occupied Europe tells the remarkable story of De Moulin’s journey in his own words. His engaging and authentic style make this a unique document about the journey undertaken by Dutch men and women - 'Engelandvaarders' - during the war.

'When, moments later we turned to look, we saw that the Gestapo was driving slowly behind us. There was no doubt that we were being followed. This realization, although sensational, was anything but pleasant … We were convinced that we had been caught and expected to be arrested at any moment. It was odd, really, that we were so calm and talked nonsense about how we might harass the Nazis during our interrogation…'

This book is unique in that it serves as both a primary and secondary source for scholars interested in the Dutch student resistance and the circumstances of the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. The style in which De Moulin’s story is presented also makes the book an accessible read for those outside of academia.

Read the full review here

H-Net

It's an entertaining account, has plenty of photos, and profits from rounding off the story by telling what happened after the war.

The Armourer, April 2019

⭐⭐⭐⭐- Very good.

This is an unique book in which the Dutchman tells his story of his dangerous journey through occupied Europe. The diary is provided with an introduction that offers background information about the "England Sailors" and the personal background of De Moulin. He leaves the Netherlands on the May 3, 1943. He arrives in Portugal after a tough journey through France and Spain. After being approved for service in the Dutch army, he flies to London on October 27, 1943.

For full review click here

Traces of War, March 2019

Escaping Occupied Europe is the fascinating, often humorous (and very candid) tale of one Dutch student’s odyssey across a Europe under nazi-occupation as he, like many of his fellow resistance members escaped certain death to travel to England and continue their fight.

Inside you will find this book presents both a fascinating glimpse of student life in the Netherlands during the occupation as well as a travelogue spanning several months as the author and companions make their way through wartime Europe, travelling through Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal before finally reaching England.

Unlike most war stories featuring resistance fighters, this story is by the ‘co-authors’ own admission a story devoid of the usual action-packed fighting, heroics and acts of desperate derring-do that exemplify the stereotypical partisan.

The book itself is softback, good quality paper, easy to read print with a map and photographs throughout, most usefully the second appendix is an index of names of people and organisations encountered by the author, each accompanied by a brief description.

In wargaming terms, there is commensurately less to offer than the previously mentioned ‘typical’ war stories featuring resistance members. Be that as it may the book is a useful resource for those looking to get a more general feel for the period.

While the contents may lend themselves less well to the ww2 wargamer interested in pitched battles and large conflicts, with a little effort the wargamer with imagination could well find this book useful inspiration for small scale resistance involved scenarios. Using a small-scale rule sets such as ‘Five Men in Normandy’ a wargamer could wargame a more action-orientated linked series of games as a band of resistance members tries to slip through occupied territory in various European locales as they attempt to reach England.

While overall offering more to the history buff in search of something different, this book would make a fine addition to any wargamers library.

Wargames Illustrated, October 2018

About Hylke Faber

Hylke Faber (1981) obtained his masters degrees at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam. He started his career as an international academic publisher at Brill and has since then been working as a publishing professional and business developer in the publishing and e-learning field.


About Pieter Stolk

Pieter Stolk (1978) studied pharmaceutical sciences at Utrecht University and obtained his PhD in 2008. Pieter has worked in the field of pharmaceuticals and life sciences since 2004. Besides his day job, history, in particular that of The Netherlands, Europe and United States after 1800, is a continuing passion.

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