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  • Join the Resistance Category

    1st Oct

    Although Allied governments certainly tried to organize and control “The Resistance”, especially the armed Resistance, it was a fundamentally grass-roots movement. You became a resister by taking action where you thought necessary and putting yourself at risk. That holds true for people who started resistance work because a friend or acquaintance asked them for help. […]

    28th May

    A German reader, a relative of one of the Dutch-Paris station chiefs, asked me an interesting question about the last post. You may remember the story of a young Dutchman we’ll call Ad who lived in France. He started out by allowing the rain to ruin shipments of linen destined for a factory that worked […]

    14th May

    Strategic Incompetence

    Many resisters started out small. They did what they could to harass the enemy with the opportunities available to them. As the war went on, their opportunities may have increased and they may have came into contact with like-minded people. Perhaps they even crossed paths with a Resistance group. Take the story of a young […]

    15th Jan

    Circumstances often played a capricious role in how an individual came to join the Resistance and where in the Resistance he or she ended up. Take, for example, the story of a young Dutchman (born 1918) whom we’ll call Bob. Bob began the war as a student at the engineering school in Delft until the […]

    5th Jan

    A Self-Appointed Spy

    This is the story of a French man, born in 1898, who created an intelligence network specializing in information about German troop movements and the location of the launching sites for V1 and V2 rockets. He wasn’t involved with Dutch-Paris, although the two networks had people in common. Our man had been wounded and gassed […]

    26th Dec

    One day in December 1943 a 21 year-old woman whom we’ll call Marie-France received a visit from her downstairs neighbor who worked at the nearby train station – the gare du nord – and whom we’ll call Dodo. He introduced her to another middle-aged man he called Felix, who was the Paris chief for Dutch-Paris. […]

    25th Nov

    This is the story of how a young Jewish man joined Dutch-Paris. We’ll call him Joe. He was born in Berlin in 1921 but moved to Amsterdam with his family in 1928. The Nazis revoked his German citizenship while he was learning the textile trade. He didn’t belong to a Resistance group in the Netherlands […]

    5th Nov

    Evaders Jump Train

    Sixty-nine years ago, on 5 November 1943, an American B-17 bomber crashed in the Netherlands not far from the North Sea. The plane had gone down so quickly that the crew didn’t have time to bail out. A couple were killed on impact; others seriously injured. Dutch civilians including a doctor arrived at the scene […]

    15th Oct

    Most airmen got rid of their flying boots after their aircraft crashed on occupied territory. They were much better quality than any foot gear available on the Continent by 1943 and so would have immediately given away an evading airman to an even minimally observant policeman. But very few (short) Belgian or French farmers had […]

    16th Sep

    Despite the impression you may have gotten from the movies, the Resistance involved a lot of mundane tasks that were far from exciting except for the ever present possibility of arrest, torture and deportation to the concentration camps. Take, for instance, the problem of housing downed Allied aviators who were trying to get to Spain […]