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Dutch World War II survivor Jan Makkreel talks about post-war smuggling in “Under the Shadow of The Swastika”

The memoir, ghostwritten by a friend, tells the circumstances that led him into smuggling.

Marysvile WA USA – WEBWIRE

“The memoir tells much about post-war smuggling in The Netherlands.”

“Under the Shadow of The Swastika” (ReadersMagnet; 2019) is a gripping wartime memoir about the trials of Jan Makkreel during and after the war in The Netherlands. The book was born out of the interest of Robert Graef, who is Makkreel’s neighbor and fellow musician and businessman.

“I was so captivated by his recollections (of his teenage years in wartime Netherlands) that I began jotting notes,” Graef wrote in the prologue of the book, “which was what he intended for me to do along.”

“Under the Shadow of The Swastika” fills the readers in about Makkreel’s family background, including family ties, which included a sister who defected to Germany and an uncle who was attracted to Nazi ideology during his time in Leipzig and later became an SS officer back home. The memoir also relates his family’s struggles during the war, the arrest of their Jewish neighbors, the post-war political cleansing, and his imprisonment over false charges of Nazi collaboration, among many painful memories of his youth in war-time Rotterdam.

Makkreel also opens up about the painful economic reality that followed the pullout of Canadian troops. He describes how survivors were desperate to rebuild and scrape a living. Left without viable employment options, he joined his former employer’s son in smuggling goods after borrowing money from his father.

“According to my practical education, illegal acts could be patriotic and acceptable keys to survival without a hint of contradiction,” said Makkreel.

Black marketing was not only a big business but also the main source of consumer goods for Dutch shops. The authorized channels of commerce were clogged with red tape and vital infrastructures were in ruin, so it was the black market that provided needed merchandise to meet consumer demand.

“Holland’s shopkeepers eagerly gave enterprising smugglers shopping lists, and should their smugglers return with only one of ten requested items, that still gave them an advantage over their more ethical competitors,” said Makkreel.

Makkreel and his companion smuggled a wide selection of goods including kitchenware, fabric bolts, and rosaries… even rosaries. “The demand for rosaries was as stable as for baby bottles or coffins,” said Makkreel. “Besides, rosaries were a compact high-value item, perfect for transporting in a little Ford (his companion’s rented vehicle used for smuggling)…”

Read more about Jan Makkreel’s life during and after the war in “Under the Shadow of The Swastika.” Order a copy today through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Await the public display of this book at the upcoming 2019 Frankfurt International Book Fair on October 16-20, 2019.
Under the Shadow of The Swastika
Author: Jan Makkreel (ghostwritten by Robert Graef)
Published date: January 29, 2019
Published by ReadersMagnet
Kindle price: $5.99
About the Author
Jan Makkreel was born on 1926 in Rotterdam, Holland and had a very happy childhood until war broke out. He and his brother had to scramble for food of any kind during the war to keep their family fed while their father worked. He also secretly helped the Jews in his neighborhood who were still hiding, which was very dangerous. After the end of the war, he and his father were interned for a year and a half at AMERSFOORT Prison Camp for alleged Nazi collaboration. They were released after being proven innocent but the neighbors were not convinced. Jan could not return to school nor gain employment. He decided to go to Canada where he and his brother began their own businesses. Over the years, he opened a string of piano stores and tuned and restored pianos.

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 Jan Makkreel
 Shadow of the Swastika
 Dutch World War II
 War Survivors

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