You needed a certain entrepreneurial spirit to start up and run an escape line during the war.

There’s no need to elaborate on the risks involved, far worse than bankruptcy.

And you had to believe in what you were doing. Illegal, clandestine activities under the Nazi occupation were not for the faint-hearted.

You also needed to convince other people that your idea was both good and possible, and you had to pick your team wisely. After all, you were asking people to devote themselves to a project without guaranteed success or immediate profit. And one sloppy or chatty team member could mean the death of you all, quite literally.

And you were going to run into difficulties raising the necessary funds. The number of bankers involved in Dutch-Paris, especially in Belgium, probably has to do with the fact that, then as now, they have access to money. But it also required some creativity.

For example, there was a Dutch maréchaussée (similar to a French gendarme or Canadian Mountie) who organized the passage of hundreds of French POW’s and Allied aviators over the Dutch/Belgian border. He and his team provided their passengers with false Belgian ID’s and (real) Belgian money. To pay for that, this pillar of law and order bought tobacco in Belgium, smuggled it over the border (admittedly not too hard for a man in uniform) and had his sister sell it in the big city of The Hague.

That’s called black marketeering. Although, given the destination of the money, it shades into the morally murky realms of the gray market. It’s a good example of how resisters thought outside the box. Outside the box of their uniform or civil service position; outside the box of their own social class or religious community. Even outside the box of how one enters a building or travels by train.

You might call it extreme entrepreneurship, except that the goal wasn’t profit. The goal was to save lives or restore liberty and justice.