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Johan Zwaan was born in Gorinchem, Holland, in 1934. He lived there during the occupation of Holland by the Nazis from age 5 to 10 years. Later he attended the local classical high school Gymnasium Camphusianum, which he completed at the age of 16. He attended medical school at the University of Amsterdam. His studies were interrupted when he was drafted in the Royal Dutch Army in 1954. After his discharge from the Army, he returned to Amsterdam in 1956. In 1960 he received the MD degree and three years later the Ph.D. for research started in medical school. The day after the defense of his thesis he left for the United States.
In 1988 he moved to the University of Texas in San Antonio as a Professor of Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, and Cellular and Structural Biology. After 7 years he was invited to join the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Three years later, in 1998, he returned to San Antonio and entered private practice. He retired in 2017. During his career, he published numerous scientific and clinical papers, book chapters, and a textbook, Decision Making in Ophthalmology (in 2014). After retirement, he took up non-medical writing.
A kid's memories of war and postwar I wrote this book on June 6, 2019, 75 years after D-day, the greatest invasion the world has ever seen.