Portraits of a Soldier

The Extraordinary Life of Jon Lippens

978-0-87565-686-1 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
232 pp. 52 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 10/15/2018


  • Paperback $24.95
At age thirteen, most boys are finding trouble in all its infinite forms. In 1939, thirteen-year-old Jon Lippens’s worst troubles found him in a predawn Nazi invasion that left his hometown of Ghent, Belgium, enveloped in mass death and destruction. His childhood ended that day.

Jon’s life thereafter was a series of traumatic events and close scrapes with death. He resisted Hitler Youth recruiters and avoided being sent to death in a labor camp, disappearing into the Belgian Underground Resistance, where he ultimately joined the Allied effort. Jon was witness to unspeakable horrors and suffering, but those years of clandestine struggles taught him not only how to survive but how to fight back.

Life in postwar Europe was a struggle, and ultimately Jon was able to emigrate to the United States, eventually settling in Texas. The horrors of World War II and his part in it still dogged his memories, but Jon learned to make peace with his past through painting and mapmaking. His artistic talent kept his belly full, while newfound faith kept his soul alive. As he aged, Jon turned from his haunting memories to create beauty with his paintbrush. At once a remarkable hero and a very modest man, he finally decided, as his life neared its conclusion, to share his unparalleled story of survival and healing—a story largely unknown until now.

Published by Texas Christian University Press