In amongst the documentary riches of the Weidner Archive, I’ve found a little cache of false documents. Some of them are the fakes that John Henry Weidner himself used during the Occupation and the quite legitimate military documents issued to him at the liberation and just after the war. And some of them are the blank forms for said documents. Legally, only the issuing authority should have had those blank forms and the stamps that formalized them, but there was a brisk trade in them during the Occupation.

By the end of the war, the Dutch Resistance had a catalog of false documents. You told your contact what documents you needed, handed over some photographs, and three days later you had your papers. The Belgian section of Dutch-Paris had a whole false documents atelier working to keep those moving down the Line and those in hiding up-to-date with their papers. The easier way was to have someone inside the town hall or prefecture who was willing to make up some “extra” papers using the official forms and stamps.

Thanks to Weidner’s propensity not only to save things but to move them across the ocean, I can show you how this worked. Exhibit A below is a blank authorization form to leave the boundaries of the French department of Haute-Savoie. Because Haute-Savoie lies along the Alpine border with Switzerland, travel was officially restricted there. You could be imprisoned if caught leaving or entering the department without this particular form.


Prefecture of Haute-Savoie                                                      Etat Français [Vichy France]

——————–                                                                               ——————-




Last Name:
First Name:
Identity Card Number:
Delivered by:
on:                                                                                       valid on:

Reason for Travel:
Date of Departure:
Date of Return:

 Annecy, [fill in date]

Prefect of Haute-Savoie
by the Prefect or his Delegate

Exhibit B is the same form filled out, signed and stamped for a certain Jean Cartier.



Last Name: Cartier
First Name: Jean
Profession: businessman
Address: 8 quai Eustache Chappuis, Annecy
Delivered by : the Prefecture of the Haute-Savoie
on 20 July 1943                                                              valid on 21 January 1944

Reason for Travel: urgent family business
Departure: 3 March 1944
Return: 24 March 1944

[signed]  Annecy, 3 March 1944

It all looks innocuous enough, but the family that called Monsieur Cartier from home on urgent business was the family of Dutch-Paris or the Dutch nation or perhaps humanity. Because Jean Cartier was just one of Jean Henri Weidner’s aliases. Cartier happened to be his wife’s maiden name.

A fifty-year old woman who worked at the Prefecture in Annecy supplied Dutch-Paris with these and similar forms. After the war she received the Dutch Zilver Erkentelijksheidsmedaille in recognition of this service.