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  • Join the Resistance Category

    5th Nov

    Here’s another story connected to the forgotten Dutch escape line I described in the last post. It involves a German Jewish family who had the foresight to leave Germany while they could. They relocated to Amsterdam until the war made that city unsafe as well. They moved again, this time to a flat above a […]

    22nd Oct

    As I mentioned in the last post, Dutch-Paris was far from the only escape line operating in Europe during the Second World War, but only a few enjoy postwar fame. Here’s an example of one that I came across repeatedly in my research but has been all but forgotten. If this line has a name, […]

    24th Sep

    Why Ordinary Heroes?

    A reader asked me why the Dutch edition of the book is called Gewone Helden (Ordinary Heroes) when everyone involved with Dutch-Paris was far from ordinary. In fact, she said, they were extraordinarily courageous and selfless. It goes without saying that she is correct. I’ll share my explanation below in case anyone else was wondering […]

    22nd Aug

    Timothy Snyder’s last lesson in On Tyranny is: “Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die under tyranny.” You may think that courage should be left to the professionals like trained military special forces, but notice that he says “be as […]

    25th Jul

    Let’s continue with how Dutch-Paris illustrates several of the lessons in Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth-Century. We covered lessons 9, 10 and 11, which are about the importance of finding out the facts for yourself and thinking for yourself. They bring us to lesson 12, which is about an important element […]

    11th Jul

    In the last post, we talked about how the men and women of Dutch-Paris illustrate a few of the lessons in Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. They did not accept the slogans of propaganda but instead were “kind to our language” (lesson 9) and “believed in truth” (lesson 10). The […]

    27th Jun

    Every citizen of every democracy should read Timothy Snyder’s short but important book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Snyder uses examples from the history of Nazism and Communism and their domination of other countries to explain how tyrants take power in democracies and how individuals can defend their civil liberties in such […]

    18th Apr

    As I’ve said before, the documents don’t explain why the men and women of Dutch-Paris joined the resistance. No one asked that question at the end of the war when the reports in the archives were written. In late 1944 Weidner did write in an official report that they risked their lives to help strangers […]

    27th Dec

    A Resister’s Parents

    I had the great honor of visiting with Joke Folmer a few weeks ago in Amsterdam. She is well known for having escorted hundreds of downed Allied aviators out of the Netherlands, some of whom she passed to Dutch-Paris. Among other things, I was interested to ask how she knew where to go when she […]

    13th Dec

    I’d like to share some of the discussion at the book launch symposium in Amsterdam last month. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything to write with, so this is not as detailed as I’d like. Professor Hans Blom began the discussion by reminding us all that a person needed both the desire to be a resister […]