Dutch Canadian publishes diary about years in hiding during WW2

Peter Van Essen was born in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, in 1922. In 1943, to avoid forced labour in Germany, Peter went into hiding on a farm near Aalten, with the help of the resistance movement.

He spent the next two years hiding on the farm, named ‘De Koekoek’, and kept a diary of his experiences. During this time he met Henny Wikkerink whose father, known as Ome Jan, was a leader of the resistance movement. Peter and Henny married in 1947, immigrated to Canada in 1953 and became Canadian citizens in 1959.

In 2015, Van Essen published his diary entitled ‘Above the Pigsty‘. It provides a glimpse into the daily life of one ‘onderduiker‘ (person in hiding) during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands from 1940 to 1945 and for the first year after liberation by the Allied troops.

‘Above the Pigsty’ is available at FriesenPress Editions (in English).

An interview with the author in the Northumberland News is published here.

Photo courtesy of Karen Longwell, Metroland Media Group, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Photo courtesy of Karen Longwell, Metroland Media Group, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
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