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  • Join the Resistance Category

    22nd Aug

    Here’s the story of how a young man (b. 1916) became one of the most important members of Dutch-Paris.  Thierry, as we’ll call him, grew up in Antwerp speaking mainly French but also learning Dutch, as befitted a Dutch citizen.  He spent some time at an agricultural college, took a long sea voyage, was discouraged […]

    25th May

    The situation in Occupied Europe was so fluid and communications so tenuous, that sometimes even the professional spooks didn’t believe what was going on. Take the story of a young Dutchman we’ll call Kees. He was the son of a law professor at the University of Leiden, a member of the Leiden hockey team and […]

    26th Mar

    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 […]

    30th Dec

    Some people ended up in the Resistance bit by bit, because their first act of kindness led to another, that led them to do something else that led onward to something else. That was the case with John Henry Weidner who started out by offering entirely legal assistance to Dutch nationals interned in French camps […]

    20th Dec

    A silent night could be a night of peace or it could be a night of complicity. It could be the silence of not speaking out to help someone in need or the silence of not telling the police where the fugitive is hiding. You had both types of silence during the war, of course. […]

    10th Oct

    In Service of Humanity

    Dutch-Paris defies easy categorization even within the extraordinary ranks of Resistance organizations. It was not a group of patriots intent on freeing their home, nor was it a group dedicated to helping their own co-religionists. It was not even a purely Dutch network despite the missions it accepted from the Dutch government-in-exile. True, most of […]

    6th Aug

    On 29 July 1944 the Germans executed a Frenchman we’ll call Albert for what they called terrorism and aiding and abetting the enemy. He was certainly guilty: he’d been in charge of organizing passages to Spain for Allied airmen and resistants from November 1942 until his arrest and subsequent torture in Toulouse on 15 May […]

    26th Jun

    Just because dossiers on resisters are now available, doesn’t mean that the dossiers have more information than a name and date of birth (sometimes not even that). But sometimes you can piece together a portrait out of bits from different archives. Take the example of Dr. Dreyfus. I first came across the name in the […]

    12th Apr

    Around the same time that the French started to open up their WWII archives (the 1990’s), they also started to collect the testimonies of Resistants. As part of this effort, the Center for the History and Documentation of the Resistance in Lyon videotaped a woman who had been an important courier for Dutch-Paris. We’ll call […]

    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, […]