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  • Routes Category

    21st Feb

    Why did so Many Escape?

    As I’ve mentioned before, there has been a fair amount of speculation about how the Germans found the convoy at the Col du Portet d’Aspet on the night of 5/6 February 1944. Theories have ranged from betrayal to the practical fact that 28 men make a lot of tracks in new fallen snow. But maybe […]

    7th Feb

    Seventy three years ago today six Allied aviators, four Engelandvaarders and a French guide walked north out of the foothills of the Pyrenees, going the opposite direction that they had walked into the mountains on their way to Spain and freedom just two days earlier. Why were these men returning to occupied territory? On the […]

    25th Oct

    If you read the earlier post about trains, you know that a lot has changed about railway journeys since 1944. Another thing that has changed in some places, is the train stations. On a small scale, you used to have to buy a “platform ticket” in order to enter the platforms. So if you wanted […]

    11th Oct

    Wartime Railway Journeys

    If you were to trace the steps of Dutch-Paris couriers and guides, you would do most of it by train. Like all civilians during the occupation, they relied on the railway to get themselves and those they were helping from one city to another. So you could get on a train in Amsterdam and follow […]

    16th Feb

    In the last post I asked how much a map of an occupied city can really show of what it would have been like to walk from one place to another in a city hushed by gasoline rationing, darkened by air raid precautions and filled with dread. We can ask the same question about clandestine […]

    2nd Feb

    I’ve been thinking about maps of Dutch-Paris. The line covered so much territory that the story needs many maps: Dutch-Paris’s routes through the Netherlands, Belgium and France; maps of the clandestine crossing places from the Netherlands to Belgium, from France into Switzerland and from France to Spain; maps of Dutch-Paris places in the main cities […]

    3rd Mar

    Although Dutch-Paris had dependable routes between Brussels, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Geneva, Weidner and his top lieutenants did not travel on them. Instead they had their own ways of getting from one place to another. Weidner travelled on the false papers of a businessman, allowing him to take the fastest trains between one city and […]

    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 […]