War memoir rich in humanity

ELAINE FRY
War, Hope and Deliverance

Moora resident Jan Jorissen's intention in writing War, Hope and Deliverance (Avago Books, $40) was to preserve family history. In doing so, he has also provided an invaluable document of life in Holland and WA. Immersing the reader in his life in war-torn Holland, Jorissen describes his childhood under nazi occupation and brings that era alive. This chronicling of key events during WWII as experienced by ordinary Dutch families is enriched with witness accounts that are graphic and moving. His memories include incidents that show the human side of ordinary German soldiers contrasted with the brutality of SS officers.

As a young boy, oblivious to the danger of the situation, Jorissen describes the thrill and excitement of witnessing a dogfight between Spitfires and Messerschmitts, only later to find a bullet hole in the milk bucket he had been carrying. He remembers childhood games making rockets from the gunpowder in the live shells left behind by the Allies. His memoirs also provide testament to acts of incredible bravery by ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. He tells of the courage of locals Red and Anton, who unselfishly risked their lives for others.

Jorissen describes settling in Moora and the people he met who helped to make it a rewarding life. He writes of the people he encountered in business and his encounters with fraudsters as well as the good and the great. His book provides a record of experiences enjoyed and endured, an insight into the cost of war and its impact on civilians as seen through the eyes of a child. Full of historical detail and rich in humanity, War, Hope and Deliverance is relevant in a much wider context than mere family history.