The Journey: An escape from Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII by Antonius Laenen was released on November 7, 2017
Think about traveling to the Middle East or Africa for a vacation and then having a war break out around you. Why did you go there in the first place? Now, how will you get back to the United States? Europe was not the Middle-East nor Africa in 1939, but there was much unrest and instability because of the spread of Nazism and Fascism, and a great war was about to erupt. The Journey begins in 1939 when the author’s parents and grandparents returned to Holland. Circumstances delayed their return but tickets for the U.S. were purchased for departure on May 10, 1940 aboard the Holland-Amerika Liner Statendam. On May 10, Germany invaded Holland with a surprise paratrooper invasion of Rotterdam, the very first tactical use of paratroopers in war. The Statendam was sunk on May 11. Rotterdam was leveled by German bombers on May 13 and the war ended for Holland on May 14. The return journey for the Laenen family had just begun.
With a name like Antonius you would expect the author to be of Italian or Greek descent but he is actually of Dutch heritage, born in The Hague, Netherlands. His given name stems from a Latin influence borne by the Catholic Church to the city of Maastricht where he can trace his lineage in that Dutch city back to the mid 1750’s. In his previous life, Tony was the author of some 40-plus technical publications on Hydrology written during his long career with the U.S. Geological Survey and his close association with the American Institute of Hydrology. Now, well into retirement, he has taken to watercolor painting, wood carving, and most recently, to writing about history. In his Dutch blood there has always coursed an affinity to water, paint, and language. His first story to be published as an Indie author is a memoir written about the true experiences of his parents and grandparents. He has chosen to write the story in fiction-dialog format to mimic his family’s personalities as best he remembers them. The cover of his new book, The Journey is one of his watercolor paintings and there are several more reproductions of his watercolors in black and white included inside.