Convoys of evaders walking over the Pyrenees to Spain worked on the same principle as convoys of ships crossing the Atlantic: it was safer to take one large group than many smaller groups. So Dutch, French, Belgian and Polish men wanting to join the Allied armies and downed aviators crossed in large groups of up to 30 made up of men of many nationalities who arrived in the foothills courtesy of different evasion lines including Dutch-Paris.

All these men would meet up in some clearing or hotel and walk on from there. Many of them started off from a certain “Hotel des Pyrénées.”  That hotel had a long career in the resistance, but the Germans eventually found out and surrounded it with heavy arms at 11:20 pm on 8 November 1943. Thirty evaders, including Engelandvaarders and downed aviators, a couple of mountain guides and the hotel owners were inside preparing for a convoy’s departure.

A lot of the Europeans and both guides managed to escape out the back windows. The sixty year-old landlady, however, was arrested and put into a German car parked in front of the hotel.  She took advantage of the dark and the fact that most of the Germans were busy pillaging her hotel to exit out the far side of the car, jump the wall and run through the neighbor’s garden to escape. She hid in the hills for a month until friends took her to the train in their car. She spent the rest of the war hiding in Paris. But, as she put it after the liberation, so many emotions gave her an attack, and she was paralyzed on one side.

Her husband died in a concentration camp in April 1945.

The Hotel des Pyrénées was out of business, but the guides moved their meeting place elsewhere and the evasions to Spain continued.