When the Germans bombed Rotterdam to rubble in May,1940, Erik Hazelhoff was a carefree student. After being imprisoned by the Gestapo, he escaped from Nazi-occupied Holland, was recruited by the British Secret Service to land agents for the Dutch underground, joined the RAF, earning Dutch and British DFC’s for his many missions as a Pathfinder pilot. (His chapter on a Mosquito raid to Berlin is so detailed that one feels being along with him in the cockpit!) He returned at the end of the war, knighted with Holland’s highest military order by Wilhelmina, the Queen of the Netherlands. As her post-war ADC he brings one into her daily life with its challenges and surprises. ‘Soldier of Orange’ is a riveting story. Its focus is on choices in time of war. Acts of heroism, friendship, and deceit form the fate of his early fellow students and war-time comrades. Over one million copies of the book, a LA Critic’s award for best foreign film starring Rutger Hauer, and presently a 7-year long musical which has broken all records. Here is the new English edition, with the original foreword from HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.
Those wanting to know more of Erik Hazelhoff’s entire life (“a hundred lives’” according to Len Deighton) should look for ‘Win A Few’ , his autobiography from birth in Java, through international intrigues and American adventures, to his final resting place at 90, in Hawaii.
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