Speakers and Artists
Vandenberge, Dr. John

Dr. John Vandenberge

Author of
From Tyranny to Freedom:
My Journey from War-Torn Holland to America

Travels from Maryland
For More Information: Call 1.800.782.2995 Or Click Here to Send An Email

John Vandenberge was almost four years old when the Nazis overtook Holland. Whether you are four or seventy-four years old, how would you feel if your home town was suddenly invaded by foreign soldiers? How would you react to hearing bombs falling? How would parents provide for their family with very severe shortages of food and supplies?
From Tyranny To Freedom is the personal story of John Vandenberge and his family as they struggled to survive during the five long years of Nazi occupation of their beloved Rotterdam, Holland.
John and his family were stripped of their identity, threatened almost daily, and suffered from sickness and hunger because Hitler imposed his will on all the Dutch people. How can one explain that to a young boy living in a nice country such as Holland?
"My parents did amazing things to keep our family of five alive and safe," says John. "My father protected us the best he could. He worked with the Dutch Underground and helped to hide Jewish people. My mother did so many, creative things to help us. My parents were real heroes.
"The curfews and other restrictions were horrible. To see neighbors taken away and sirens going off doesn't allow for a very secure environment for any child or adult. What goes on in a mother's heart when she never knows when her husband or oldest son might be taken away to be forced to work in a German war factory or perhaps be taken to a concentration camp while she's left with two young children?
"My parents lost a lot of weight because they were always the last to eat, if there was anything left. Food was scarce - very scarce. How does one survive, cooped up in a small apartment without electricity much of the time? What do you do between long dark curfew hours?"
John's family heard many rumors about the Allied forces coming closer but they never materialized. But freedom finally did come in the nick of time after five long years. It was very dramatic as John, now 9, stood with his parents and watched tanks roll down the streets. This time the soldiers were different! These freedom fighters from America and Canada waved and smiled - they brought freedom back to Holland and John's life totally changed.
"After the war, I had to go see this country where these wonderful people came from. We had no money for me to visit America so the struggle to go across the Atlantic Ocean took on a life of its own. I am very grateful to be an American now and I want you to know what it is like to experience and to be freed from tyranny. I love America but I am concerned about her future."
John Vandenberge, DDS, DD, served in the Royal Dutch Air Force 1955-1957, worked for the Holland America Line, and then immigrated to America in 1958. He practiced general dentistry for forty years in the Baltimore area. John has been married to Linda Ann Dorn for fifty years as of November 2009, and they have four sons - John Griffith, William David Reese, Martin Baker, and Alan Thomas - as well as six grandchildren.



Testimonials & Book Reviews . . .
John has done the Christian community a great favor by sharing his and his family's awesome experiences of life. An incredible personal life story that is crying to be made into an inspirational movie. Thank God for such families.
Richard L. Alms, PhD
Having lived as a young man during the period of time described in From Tyranny to Freedom, it is impossible to sum up in a sentence or two the emotions it generates. This is a book for our time. Walk personally in the shoes of the author as he describes that terrible time experienced by real people under the cruel, godless, and dictatorial umbrella of Nazi-ism, and then the unique comparison upon stepping into the sunshine of freedom in the United States where God was recognized and worshipped. This is not just another autobiography, but a personal view of historic reality. It admonishes us that as a nation having excluded God, we are not only violating our founding documents, but as Germany in the 1930s, we are headed into socialism.
Attorney Bernard P. Reese Jr. LLD
United States Supreme Court Historical Society
I believe the generation today must never forget the horrors of World War II. We enjoy the blessings of today because of previous generations' faith in God and their willingness to sacrifice their lives for God, for freedom, and for the better future for their children. The comparisons Dr. Vandenberge has made between the rise of Nazism and what is going on in America today are vital. If this nation does not heed messages like his, we could find ourselves in a position very similar to that of Western Europe during World War II.
The Rt. Rev. Philip C. Zampino
Anglican Bishop, Retired
This is a wonderful story of God's preserving power even in the midst of the most unthinkable evil and human suffering. John Vandenberge's odyssey is as engrossing and moving as any epic - only this one is a spiritual epic with eternal consequences. From Tyranny To Freedom will touch your heart, move your soul and give you quite an education in a very dark part of history. This book is well worth the read!
The Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck
National Clergy Council
Washington, DC
I am more than halfway through the book and I can't put it down. It is a wonderful book and I think everyone should read it. I found it sad and funny and very inspiring. Of course, it's especially meaningful since I know you and your family, but even if I didn't I would feel the same way and would still be telling friends about it. Thank you for writing the book.
Just finished your wonderful book ... and what a story of God's goodness and grace! The hand and providence of God is woven through it all ... so clearly. May God continue to use you through this book to reveal to others that He is real and with us.
WOW! I read your book over the weekend. It was fantastic. Now my husband is going to finish it and the rest of the family will also. EVERYONE should know what happened during that horrible time. I had read several books many years ago on the Holocaust. It seems even more real when I know a person who lived it!!
Best wishes as your wondeful book "hits the newstands"! Many will benefit from reading it as you describe your harrowing experiences for those who cannot imagine what it must have been like if they don't read first-hand accounts.
It is good to maintain awareness of history. It give us perspective on the present and informs (or should inform) our choices for the future. ... In a time of world scepticism, it is difficult to discount personal experience. May God bless you with this undertaking and the invitations that will surely come your way.
I finished the book this morning, and wow, was it riviting! I thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn't put it down once I started. I began reading it last night at 9:00 so that gives you an idea of how much I enjoyed it. We really can't thank you enough for taking the time to document your story. We plan to buy each one of the kids their own copy so that they have it to pass on to their future familes. Thanks again!
I came away with a very optimistic view of things. Truly the first chapters reflect the darkest times anyone could have lived through: 1. Going to sleep with the knowledge that your room is not secure. 2. Waking with knowledge that everything you should be able to take for granted will have to be struggled for. 3. But to come from that and then not just survive, but thrive, is truly hopeful.
To say it was an honor to have you on the show is an understatement. Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your story and book with the audience.
Excellent - Niall Ferguson recently wrote an article for Foreign Affairs which describes how quickly nations fall from power and why they fall. The US masses really needed to be reminded about how terrifying and how bad life can really be. Most of the population has never seen anything but US dominance and the good life. There are several Black Swans that are waiting in the wings to destroy us.
I personally believe everyone should read the book - especially young people, because we seem to have forgotten our patriotic spirit these days. It's appalling how many lack appreciation for being able to live in this (still) wonderful country.
Dana and I have both read your book and really enjoyed it. We especially enjoyed the stories about the war and your family. It is easy to see why you are so passionate about democracy and the direction our country is heading. This book is a wonderful thing for your family, with the grandchildren being able to see your life story and pass it on to further generations. Congratulations for making the effort to get it in print. It was well worth your work. We are going to send copies to a couple of our family members who are interested in family history and the war.
Linda and Dana
David and I just finished reading your book aloud. What a life you have had. God has brought you through many challenges and life-threatening circumstances. Thank you for writing your story. It seems our Father's hand has been over your family for several generations, honoring the faith placed in Him. You stirred our hearts, and your humor was not lost on us either.
I would like to thank you for sending me an autographed copy of your book. I understand that it was hard being a child during the war. You are a great writer, and I want to thank you for writing about your experiences as a young boy. I hope that you will decide to write another book, and I will be the first one in line to get a copy of it.
Your book is TREMENDOUS!!!!! Honestly, I was not able to put it down and appreciate very much your willingness to write it. God bless you.

John Vandenberge Travels from Maryland
For More Information: Call 1.800.782.2995 Or Click Here to Send An Email

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