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  • Memory Category

    10th Jan

    Resisters’ Families

    I’ve been thinking about resisters’ families since my last blog but I can’t come to any conclusion. The men and women of Dutch-Paris had many different family situations during the war. Weidner himself was married, but did not have children. There were widowed women with grown children; young men and women who lived with their […]

    3rd Nov

    I am happy to report that the Dutch translation of my book on Dutch-Paris has arrived from the printers. Many thanks to Maarten Eliasar, Hélène Lesger and the rest of the production team for the terrific job they did with the translation, the copy editing, the illustrations and all the details that have made it […]

    1st Mar

    Seventy-two years ago, on 28 February 1944, German police arrested a number of Dutch-Paris helpers in a well-organized sweep. Officers from the Abwehr (German military intelligence), Geheime Feldpolizei (secret military police) and Gestapo (secret state police) cooperated in the raids. One group invaded the Dutch-Paris safe house in Brussels at the same time that other […]

    17th Feb

    Liberated too Late

    Almost 70 years ago, on 5 February 1945, Russian soldiers liberated John Weidner’s younger sister Gabrielle from a sub-camp of the notorious women’s concentration camp of Ravensbrück. On that day, Gabrielle was in what passed as the infirmary, although there was no medicine, no heat, barely any blankets. The only thing that made it an […]

    6th Jan

    In the last two posts I’ve described the hard choices that two young men made during the war. In both cases, they did what they felt they had to do to protect their families. Here’s another example of a choice that looks compromising from the outside but was actually an act of self-sacrifice to protect […]

    23rd Dec

    The Farmer’s Compromise

    In the last post I described a young Alsatian man who was both a resister and a collaborator. He was far from the only young man from the occupied countries who made a choice that the world considers to be evil out of concern for his family rather than ideological commitment or personal depravity. Here’s […]

    6th Dec

    If your father or grandfather crossed the Pyrenees illegally during the war, could you recreate his route? You could probably figure out the general path from the documents, but unless he himself made the effort to figure out where he’d been in the dark and wrote it down, you are unlikely to be able to […]

    25th Nov

    The Brussels Safe House

    As in Toulouse and Paris, Dutch-Paris used many hiding places in Brussels. These included the private homes of Dutch expatriates and a hotel not far from the main train station. The best remembered safe house, though, was a boarding house away from the city center on the rue Franklin. In the fall of 1943 the […]

    11th Nov

    Hiding in a Dungeon in Paris

    In Paris, as in Toulouse, Dutch-Paris hid its fugitives at many addresses although one address has eclipsed the others in the memory of the line. In Paris the best remembered safe house was used for only a few weeks in early 1944 and mostly by downed Allied airmen. If they reached England again, aviators remembered […]

    28th Oct

    The Panier Fleuri was a small inn on the outskirts of Toulouse that has enjoyed a modicum of postwar fame as the place where Dutch-Paris hid evaders before they left for the Pyrenees. Over the years, it’s been confused with other places, perhaps because it had name for people to remember (see previous post). This […]