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( Read Pdf ) ⚠ I Was A Stranger Ä Badly wounded at the battle of Arnhem, and then spirited from his hospital bed by the Dutch Resistance, Brigadier John Hackett spent the winter ofin Nazi occupied Holland, hidden by a Dutch family, at great risk to their own lives, in a house a stone s throw from a German military police billet After four months in hiding, Hackett was at last well enough to strap a battered suitcase to an ancient bicycle and set out on a high adventure which would, he hoped, lead him to freedom I recommend this book for anyone who wants to see the best of humanity while suffering under the oppression of war The Dutch citizens who aided General Sir John Hackett were true heroes and showed the best answer to tyranny I was fortunate enough to meet a Canadian bomber pilot who was engaged in Operation Market Garden He told me him and his crew dropped bales of food to starving civilians who had lost so much like those portrayed in this book I take my hat off to all of them. When I started reading this book a year and a half ago, I was incredulous For this is one of the best nonfiction accounts of Allied bravery behind German lines from the War that I have as yet read Yet its reviews are few and far between on GR Why s that Well, for that I have to thank only myself and the others of my generation, most of whom are still living, for we are among the last who saw its effects.You see, those long lasting effects of the War inculcated a cold dread of modern warfare i When I started reading this book a year and a half ago, I was incredulous For this is one of the best nonfiction accounts of Allied bravery behind German lines from the War that I have as yet read Yet its reviews are few and far between on GR Why s that Well, for that I have to thank only myself and the others of my generation, most of whom are still living, for we are among the last who saw its effects.You see, those long lasting effects of the War inculcated a cold dread of modern warfare into our too sensitive souls And so many of us, used to soft creature comforts, became pronounced pacifists.And so I personally remain.But so many of us others here are utterly unaware of the personal mortal hazards endured by the Dutch people, who were not quite firmly enough under the iron boot of Nazism for Hitler s liking.For these wonderful people, like our soldiers who managed to save us from his totalitarian yoke by the skin of their teeth were proud members of the Greatest Generation These people put up with a meagre subsistence for ten full years, during the Depression and then endured THIS LIVING HELL.Many of them donning the uniform.But you know what These folks were so happy to be still alive in a Free World that they plunged RIGHT INTO THE THICK OF IT ALL out of sheer gratitude for their lives and freedom.We all know that the Cold War has paralysed so many of the postwar generations with a dreary cynicism.But guess what We have never nearly risked LOSING our comforts FOR GOOD let alone for a few unwired minutes as did so many of these old timers.And the gentle souls of the Netherlands who risked instant death, or a much slower andtortuous death as a traitor in Auschwitz or Treblinka, to save the life of one British soldier whom none of them knew personally were PHENOMENALLY BRAVE.You have often seen stories in the news about comparably audacious people, but these folks were not cold images on your nightly news These people were warm, innocent folks with too many problems of their own to risk throwing their lives away for a stranger.Yet that s exactly what these gentle homebodies did.And this, too, is a gentle book that springs very few grisly surprises on us readers, from a gentle man.Yes, for General Sir John Hackett was a thoughtful, gentle guy.I know, PTSD can do that to a man.That s why General NOT so high ranking during the War Hackett decided to write this shortly after demobilisation.He had to get his devilish nightmares out of his system.And Hackett was kind and gentle by his nature, so he had no choice, for his own peace of mind.It s called Catharsis.And its result, this book, is Beautiful I read this book withthan usual interest, as my Grandfather was an underdiver in the Netherlands during part of the war I was astounded at General Hackett s recall of events until I got to the end where he told how he wrote this account in the year after it happened Nonetheless, he must have been taking notes his descriptions are as crisp and clear as if they happened yesterday.This is a book full of remarkable people Hackett himself, the family he was hidden by Uncles, Aunts, brot I read this book withthan usual interest, as my Grandfather was an underdiver in the Netherlands during part of the war I was astounded at General Hackett s recall of events until I got to the end where he told how he wrote this account in the year after it happened Nonetheless, he must have been taking notes his descriptions are as crisp and clear as if they happened yesterday.This is a book full of remarkable people Hackett himself, the family he was hidden by Uncles, Aunts, brothers, sisters the whole clan contributed in some way to his care and safety , the resistance members who daily risked their lives for all those they helped, and for me the most interesting the female couriers who escorted the divers from place to place, delivered documents and explosives and whatever else necessary right under the nose of the Germans in this particular story, 2 couriers, one 40 yrs old, and the other 19.I really could go on and on The book brings up so many thoughts and questions This is not the ugly side of the war it is harrowing and beautiful, but a story of people doing what they believe to be right at any cost to themselves, with grace and full hearts John Hackett, when preparing at last to escape German occupied territory after recovering from his wounds, makes this remark,There was the expectation of excitement and change, of freedom and a new life and the delight of setting out to go home My spirits, borne upon thoughts like this, soared like a kite but at the other end of the string was a heavy little stone of sadness I was leaving behind me a rare and beautiful thing It was a structure of kindness and courage, of steadfast devotion and quiet selflessness, which it was a high privilege to have known I had been witness to an act of faith, simple, unobtrusive and imperishable I had often seen bravery in battle I now also knew the unconquerable strength of the gentle Another moving moment happens during Hackett s escape He has been traveling at night in a canoe along a river with a silent but not unfriendly stranger they stop at one point and get out on the bank to wait for someone Hackett does not know who or what, and no one explains While they wait, he realizes there arepeople some of whom might well be doing exactly what he is doingI was cramped and stood up to move about a little The wind blew in great gusts Stinging drops of water, whether of spray or driven rain, hit me in the face A shape grew before me, hovered uncertainly, and drew close It was a woman Good luck, said a low voice in English.A man appeared beside her Good luck, said he and a hand found mine and grasped it.They turned and left me like wraiths as a third came up Good luck, Englishman, a voice murmured in Dutch.Another woman s form materialized Goodbye The voice was a whisper blown by the wind, barely heard.Yet another stood beside me, and a hand felt for my arm Look, here are biscuits, and a little paper packet was thrust into my hand.Then I was suddenly alone again, moved and uplifted as I had so often been among the DutchThere are so many utterly sickening and horrific stories about war, and these need to be told and learned from But there are also stories of quiet resistance like this one, and these are important too Another book I read on a similar topic, The Courage to Care Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust by Carol Rittner, Sondra Myers made a similar impression on me the kindness of strangers this is what has saved so many in the end Small things sometimes, other times incredible sacrifices.The kindness of strangers May I never forget how much it matters Striking autobiography of a wounded British Brigadier General, given to the care of the Nazis as the British withdrew from the failed attempt to capture Arnheim, then hidden by a Dutch family forthan four months until well enough to bicycle miles in the snow, then cross two rivers to British held territory Most noteworthy because it has essentially vanished from today s world is the staunch Christian faith that kept hope alive both for the author and for the family taking the grave risk Striking autobiography of a wounded British Brigadier General, given to the care of the Nazis as the British withdrew from the failed attempt to capture Arnheim, then hidden by a Dutch family forthan four months until well enough to bicycle miles in the snow, then cross two rivers to British held territory Most noteworthy because it has essentially vanished from today s world is the staunch Christian faith that kept hope alive both for the author and for the family taking the grave risk of hiding such a high ranking escapee Once out of Nazi territory, the author is treated to a dinner by Monty, then zips home in time to intercept the telegram telling his wife she may not, after all, be a widow God wasn t dead back then