Was God on Vacation? Many of us, like Jack, have asked this question. At times it certainly seems like it. This site is dedicated to Holocaust survivor and author Jack van der Geest, and to his faith. Despite his unimaginable experiences during the Holocaust, he often signed his books, “God was never on vacation, I found out.”
Jack is one of only a few people known to have escaped Buchenwald Death Camp near Weimar, Germany. He “died” in camp at 4:59 AM on March 3, 1943. Actually he pretended to be dead, was carried to 5:00 AM roll call, and dumped onto a pile of dead bodies where he lay until the evening. At 80 pounds, he managed to overpower a Nazi guard and escape camp.
After WWII Jack moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, where he lived for more than 55 years. On September 17, 2008, U.S. Senator John Thune honored Jack with a proclamation on the floor of the U.S. Senate. The state of South Dakota and his adopted home town, Rapid City, honored Jack on March 3, 2009, declaring it “Jack van der Geest Day” in honor of the 66th anniversary of his amazing escape. He died only two days later, on March 5, 2009 at 4:59 AM.
Listen to Jack's remarkable speech that he gave on March 2, 2009 at the Rapid City Council meeting.
In addition to Jack,
this website is a tribute to the following
The millions of people who
perished in the Holocaust.
The German couple in a farmhouse 5km south of
Weimar, Germany who risked their lives to help him.
Dr. Marvel, a dentist in Neufchateau, France who
helped Jack enter the French Underground.
Special thanks to Sam Kookier, Jack's loyal and devoted friend,
who helped publicize the story of Jack's remarkable journey and who encouraged him in his Christian walk.
Jack's wife, Elaine, (d. June, 1996), and his son Van
encouraged Jack to write his story
beginning in the late 1980's. The book
was published in 1995 by his son, Van, with the help of Carol
Jack at Buchenwald Memorial, Weimar, Germany, 2003