Willys Jeeps and Our Liberation

by Ina Leidshendam

I am sure many people can tell you about exhaust systems, transmissions, horse power and suspension systems, round head lights vs square, but nothing will ever top the early Willys Jeeps.

I am from the Netherlands and was a young girl during the German occupation of World War II. We suffered and many died during this brutal time in our country’s history. My father fought and died in the resistance. Once he was caught our family was singled out and particularly brutalized by the Nazis. Two of my baby sisters died of complications due to malnutrition. My mother was beaten and tortured in front of us. My Grandfather was just pulled out of bed and shot and killed.

We never knew from day to day if that was going to be our last, never knew where we were going to get our next crust of bread from. We lived in fear. The things that we saw and had to endure should never have been seen by anyone and I still get chills down my spine thinking of that horrible time.

I cannot tell you what smiles were brought to our faces seeing that first Willys Jeep with our American saviors come rolling thru my home town liberating us. Like so many of us, I completely associate the Willys as an end of the Nazi regime and a chance of not only survival, but happiness. You cannot name a car, truck or any other vehicle that can do that!

Once I was able to afford a car I bought of course a Jeep. I have owned one ever since, currently sporting the new 4 door Wrangler which I love. My children also all drive Jeeps.

But nothing, nothing will ever beat the Willys.

Comments for Willys Jeeps and Our Liberation

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God Bless you Ina!
by: LHM

You are right. No one should ever have to see and suffer what you and your family have endured under the Nazi regime...or any other murderous group.

The Willys Jeeps are symbols of liberation, freedom and the fight for peace in our world.

Thanks for reminding us.

Willys Jeeps in a new light
by: Emmett

I fought in WWII and was part of the first wave to help liberate the good people of Holland. They suffered terribly. I cannot tell you what this story means to me not only as a vet, but specifically as a former Willys Jeep driver! I never thought about how a person could associate a simple thing like a Jeep with salvation, but having read it, I totally can understand.

Thank you for sharing this with us!

Willys Jeeps and WWII
by: Johan Emmerik van,

I too am from the Netherlands. Though I am not old enough to remember the war as we call it. We don't think of any other war but WWII when we say the war. I can tell you the countless times I have heard the stories of the Americans driving the Willys Jeeps liberating our country. When an old Willys Jeep does show up at a car show, it is always the one that we gather around to admire. And to hear the pensioners talk about what the old Jeep means to them, the stories are all similar to Ina's.

Thank you for sharing the story! And thank you America and Willys Jeeps!

Should be listed under Willys Jeep
by: Anonymous

Great story, this should be listed under Jeep Willys, not "are you a Jeep girl"!

Larry's Comment: This story was sent in under the "...Jeep Girl" heading. I agree that it could also be appropriately placed under the "Willys Jeep" heading as well. So, I will also add it to the Willys page as a link. Thanks

by: Big Dave

I have always loved Jeeps, but I had no idea what that must have meant to you! Makes me love them that much more!!!

Thank You Ina!
by: Steve Wilson


I do not know if you will read this but if you do I would like to say this to you from the bottom of my heart. You are a true testament to what and how others felt about America at one time. I have never experienced the horror you did as a child, watching family memembers being slaughtered in front of you, the loss like this would be devastating and I guess it was.

To hear your story warmed my heart and it saddened me at the same time. Here we take for granted what we have, and we often forget the most unthanked hero's, OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN. Your remembering of the Jeep vehicle with the American Liberators that made an impact on you is something I wish every True American could read. We are facing times of true unrest, and our freedom is being taken slowly away every day. People in foreign country's see this and we don't.

America is still the greatest Country on earth. It harbors patriots as well as others who don't agree with our way of living. I will for one look at my Jeep in a whole new perspective.

Thanks so much for sharing a great story and I am truely sorry for your loss. God Bless and keep you.

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