"Most evil spirits have been beaten", trapped family's father says in 2006 video

Aerial photo of a farm on Buitenhuizerweg in Ruinerwold where a family was found living in isolation for 9 years, Oct 2019
Aerial photo of a farm on Buitenhuizerweg in Ruinerwold where a family was found living in isolation for 9 years, Oct 2019Photo: Politie

Gerrit Jan van D., a man found living with six of his children in a hidden space on a farm in Ruinerwold last week, recorded a series of religious videos in 2006. In these videos he speaks of a spiritual war that is not quite over, but that god declared  to be 'won'. The Telegraaf discovered these videos and posted excerpts on its site.

"We have gone through a very big war. That war was mainly spiritual and though this war has not entirely ended, still God has announced the end and the victory of the battle in spirit world. The final judgment in spirit world", the bearded man says in the video. "And because this battle is over now and most evil spirits have been beaten and are defeated, today, now we can start with thinking again and pondering over god's ideals."

Van D. also speaks about doing things for your own gain and at the detriment of your family. "You get what you want. But your parents have pain. Maybe your brothers and sisters have pain and misery from what you took for yourself. Is that happiness? Are you happy then?" he said.

According to the Telegraaf, Van D. recorded these videos in his store in Zwatsluis in 2006. 

Father Gerrit Jan van D. was found living in a hidden room on a farm in Ruinerwold with six of his children on Monday. The police believe they've been living there in complete isolation from the rest of the world for nine years. The children told the police they are between the ages of 18 and 25. None of them have birth certificates. The family was discovered after one son, a 25-year-old named Jan, got out and made contact with local residents.

On Saturday the Public Prosecutor confirmed that Van D. registered himself as "emigrated" in 2009. Before that the family lived in the municipality of Zwartwaterland for years, first in Hasselt and then in Zwartsluis. A truancy officer for the municipality of Zwartwaterland visited the family in the past and found no reason to report them to the authorities, the mayor said on Friday. 

The tenant of the farm in Ruinerwold, Josef B., and Van D. have both been arrested. They are suspected of deprivation of freedom, harming the health of others, and money laundering. B. was arraigned on Thursday and remanded into custody for at least another 14 days. 

Van D. also has three other children who fled the family eight years ago, and one more son from a previous marriage, the man's family revealed in a statement

RTV Drenthe reported that Van D. and his family believed it was the "end times" and that Van D. and B. met each other through the Unification Movement, a cult-like religious movement that originated in South Korea decades ago. Its members are often referred to as 'Moonies', named after the founder Sun Myung Moon. A spokesperson for the Dutch branch of this movement confirmed that Van D. was a member in the 1980s, but is no longer affiliated with the Unification Movement. 

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