Dutch doomsday cult children who were caged by their twisted father for nearly a decade speak out about horror abuse | The Sun
29th October 2023

THE children of a Dutch doomsday cult have told of the horrors they faced after being caged by their sadistic father for nearly a decade.

Warped Gerrit-Jan van Dorsten held six of his nine kids captive at a farmhouse in Ruinerwold, the Netherlands, and beat them to drive out "bad spirits".

In a case that shocked the Netherlands, the twisted man was alleged to have kept the children hostage in the apparent belief he was their new Messiah – preparing them for a new society called Eden.

Earlier this week, The Hidden Children of Ruinerwold Farm began airing on the BBC where viewers hear the sickening testimonies from van Dorsten's four eldest children.

They chose to flee from their father's twisted influence, while the other five have decided to stay loyal to him.

Son Shin, 31, told viewers in the third episode how the "worst experiences were the strangling".



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Shin, who left the family in 2009, said: "He strangled you until you thought you were dead and then he let go. 

"So you would gasp for air, he did that regularly. And he went through phases. At some point, he started hitting you on the head, always on the same spot."

He also recalled the worst incident occurred when he returned home from school and had sexual feelings for a girl.

"He could tell, and then I had to take a cold bath," he said.

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"I still hate cold water, maybe a lot of people do. But it would take so long that I'd get out of the bath half-crippled."

Van Dorsten's daughter Mar Jan, 30, also recalled how she always feared that he would give her "a real beating".

She fled from the evil dad's grasp in 2008 and said: "He always paced up and down the room and he could scream very loudly and look very angry. And sometimes he would scream in your face."

One child also claimed to have spent an entire summer living in a dog kennel when he was just 13 after his dad told him he was evil.

Van Dorsten is alleged to have sexually assaulted his son Edino, now 28, after telling him that their dead mother's spirit had entered him. 

The children's mother Maria had died before the family relocated to Ruinerwold, and van Dorsten told their kids she was a vessel for the spirit of a dead Korean child – the daughter of the founder of the controversial South Korean Moonie religion.

Followers of the sect, also known as the Unification Church, believe Jesus appeared to Korean founder Moon Sun-myung and asked him to finish his work on Earth.

The horror documentary – which was filmed just five weeks after cops had raided the family farmhouse – shows old footage of van Dorsten's chilling rantings to his children.

He had told them how he was trying to create a personal paradise where his children could live. 

This meant there could be little or no contact with the outside world, although his three oldest children were allowed to go to school.  

But his decade-long stretch of unthinkable abuse came to an end in October 2019 when his eldest child, Jan Zon van Dorsten walked into a local bar in a confused state and raised the alarm.

He told a local man that he and his family had not left home for nine years and had been waiting for the end of the world.

Previously speaking out on the bizarre experience, Chris Westerbreek, the bar owner, told The Sun: "He looked odd in baggy clothes that appeared years out of date but there was something unearthly about him that worried me.

"He struggled to communicate but he looked so desperate I knew I had to help him. Now I thank God I did.”

Van Dorsten was arrested on suspicion of holding his children against their will but was ruled unfit to stand trial in 2021 after suffering a severe stroke.

He was charged with depriving the children of their liberty from 2007 to 2019 and "punching, kicking and denying food and drink" to the six adult children who were aged between 18 and 25.

His final charge relates to the alleged sexual abuse of two of his older three children.

Prosecutors said the youngest six of the nine children “lived in seclusion from birth, were kept indoors, and had to be quiet so that no one would notice that they existed.”

They were made to believe they were the only people left on Earth.

The family was said to have been so isolated they had lost the ability to talk properly and spoke a bizarre “fantasy language” when cops arrived to rescue them.

Officers had great difficulty understanding the "incomprehensible" victims who slept and ate on the floor of the windowless room, according to local reports.

In June last year, an Austrian handyman was jailed for helping van Dorsten keep his children hidden from the world.

Nicknamed Josef the Austrian, Josef Brunner was described as a "disciple" of van Dorsten and played an "essential role" in the isolation of the kids.

He reportedly bought groceries for twisted van Dorsten and rented the farm on his behalf.

He had a "different role" to the father but there was "sufficiently close and conscious cooperation" between them to show that he was also guilty, a Dutch court ruled. 

Neighbours said handyman Josef visited the farm every day in a Volvo, tended the vegetable patch and looked after the goat and a few geese, and also did repairs.

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The six alleged victims of their dad's abuse were cared for at an undisclosed location after they were freed from van Dorsten.

Police said they found the family in a "small space in the house which could be locked" and that it was unclear whether they were being held against their will.

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