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  • False Documents Category

    5th May

    A Determined Mother

    The war impelled all sorts of people to extraordinary acts, not least of them mothers. Take, for instance, the wife of the Dutch consul general in the Vichy zone of France. Madame, as we’ll call her, had four daughters but consistently refused opportunities to leave occupied Europe with them on the grounds that it was […]

    9th Nov

    One of the difficulties with illegal border crossing during the war was that you had to carry two sets of ID with you, one for each side. It was incriminating, to say the least, to be caught with both Dutch and Belgian papers at the border. Different people had different approaches to the problem. You […]

    15th Sep

    According to a written note sent to the Dutch military attaché in Bern by John Henry Weidner and one of his top lieutenants, there were five good reasons for fugitives to use false German documents while en route to Spain or Switzerland. 1 – So many thousands of Dutch people actually did work for German […]

    17th May

    But Where Is Nestor?

    Few people today appreciate the chaotic disaster of Germany in 1945 or of the millions of non-German Displaced Persons liberated there by the Allies. It would take a number of books to understand it. But I can give you one example of the confusion that also explains the richness of the archives of the Dutch Red […]

    9th Feb

    I’m taking the title of this blog and the following story from an article published by the Resistance newspaper Het Parool in 1947. It’s the story of how a young man (b. 1918) who we’ll call Valmont joined Dutch-Paris. As many other Dutch Jews did in 1942, Valmont joined a “convoy” to get to Switzerland, […]

    1st Sep

    Whose Identity Card?

    Travel papers such as the authorization to cross the borders of Haute-Savoie in the last blog would be easy enough to forge if you had the forms and the stamps. Identity cards posed more of a problem. Actually, they were more like identity booklets of heavy paper stock folded in thirds than the laminated cards […]

    17th Aug

    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 […]

    20th Jul

    The most poignant of the NARA helper files I’ve read concerns a young Dutch woman who was a student at the Sorbonne when the Germans invaded in 1940. We’ll use her nom de guerre, Anne-Marie. In the normal course of affairs, she met a man who worked at the Dutch embassy in Paris. As a member […]

    27th Apr

    It’s 1942 in Amsterdam and the Gestapo is after you.  Perhaps you’ve done something particular to annoy them, like printing an illegal newspaper or bailing out of an American or RAF bomber.  Maybe, because you’re a young man of military age, the occupation authorities think you should go work in Germany – essentially as slave […]