Jack van der Geest

Picture taken in Council Chambers on 3/2/2009 during the recognition of Jack for the 66th anniversary of his escape from Buchenwald.

Born: September 17, 1923 – The Hague, Netherlands
“Died”: March 3, 1943 – Buchenwald Death Camp, Weimar, Germany (4:59 AM)
Died: March 5, 2009 – Rapid City, SD (4:59 AM)

This page is a tribute to an amazing Rapid Citian, who lived here from 1953 until his death on March 5, 2009.

He was a tremendous person and a very good friend of mine (and fellow Dutchman). He is also the only person I have ever known who died twice.

Jack van der Geest, author of “Was God on Vacation? (3rd edition 2002)” was one of a handful of people known to have escaped from the infamous Buchenwald Death Camp near Weimar, Germany. He died unexpectedly on March 5, 2009, only 2 days after being recognized by the City and State on the 66th Anniversary of his stunning escape from Buchenwald.

Jack and his family lived in the Netherlands during the time of Hitler’s invasion, and they risked their lives by joining the Dutch resistance and hiding Jewish people.

Jack experienced the most extreme example of what can happen when government becomes unaccountable to the people.

He was known for signing his books by writing “Enjoy your Freedom” or by writing “God was never on vacation, I found out”.

Learn more at www.jackvandergeest.com


Picture taken on Jack's 85th Birthday, Sandstone Ridge, Rapid City; 9/17/2008 From Left to Right: Abbie (7)/Jack and Sam/Ellie (5)