Published: 15/04/2018
ISBN: 9781788037709
Format: Paperback

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About the Author

Ian and Sandie worked in educational research. After retiring from their UK jobs in 2008, they spent two years working in New Zealand, and one year as volunteers in Ghana. They have travelled extens... read more

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A Wartime Journey Revisited
Incorporating ‘An Odyssey through Occupied Europe in 1943’
by Ian and Sandie Schagen

In June 1943 a young Dutchman, Pieter Schagen, fled from the Nazis and travelled secretly through Holland, Belgium, and France, crossing the Pyrenees and (after being imprisoned in Spain) reaching Gibraltar. He came to Britain and flew in the RAF. In 1997 Piet wrote an account of his travels for the family, titling it An odyssey through occupied Europe in 1943. Lively and quirky, both amusing and horrifying in parts, it gives a fascinating glimpse of the difficulties and dangers he encountered, and the kind people who helped him on his way, often at serious risks to themselves.

In 2015 Piet’s son Ian fulfilled a long-standing desire to follow in his father’s footsteps, and – accompanied by his wife Sandie – traced Piet’s route from his home in Zaandam to Gibraltar. They attempted to search for the places he mentions, and hoped where possible to find descendants of the people who helped him. The journey led them across five countries, through big cities and to remote farms. Their story tells of frustration, excitement and some amazing successes.

The accounts of both adventures – 72 years apart – are given in parallel in this book. Two very different stories, of people following the same route in different eras and with different goals.

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