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Struggle and Heroics in Occupied Holland cover

  • Keywords
    • Biography,
    • Memoir,
    • Parents,
    • Holland,
    • Second World War,
    • Resistance,
    • Immigrants

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Struggle and Heroics in Occupied Holland
WWII and Beyond
by Hans Messinger

Several years into World War II, a young couple in occupied Holland decided to hide a Jewish medical student in their home to protect him from the Nazis as part of their work with the Resistance. Eventually, they helped smuggle him out of the country to safety. This couple, Johannes and Maria Messinger, were author Hans Messinger’s parents. In Struggles and Heroics in WWII, he tells their life and family story from their dangerous work with the Resistance, their struggles to survive through the Hunger Winter of 1944-45, their recollections of the liberation of Holland by Canadian forces, and their efforts to build a new life in Canada during some tough economic times. Filled with interesting cultural gems and incredible historical events, this book is a deeply personal and moving story about the life and family of two courageous individuals.

Hans Messinger was born in Holland within a year of its liberation from the Nazis. He moved to Canada with his parents in 1953. Some memories of his childhood in Trenton, Montreal, and St. Catharines are included along with his parents’ story. Hans began writing Struggles and Heroics in Occupied Holland after retiring from a successful career as an economist with Statistics Canada, the Department of Health and Welfare, and the Economic Council of Canada. He felt it was a story that needed to be told, as it would allow him to honour his parents for their brave and gallant efforts during WWII in occupied Holland, and preserve their many experiences for future generations. Today Hans lives in Perth, Ontario with his wife Francine and Labradoodle Abby.


Hans Messinger
Francine Rouleau
Johanna Jackson

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