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  • Routes Category

    14th Jun

    The Train Report

    To my surprise and delight, I’ve found the reports of the regular journeys that a Dutch-Paris courier made from Switzerland to France and Belgium every two weeks between October 1943 and June 1944. Our man was combining Dutch-Paris business with official Dutch government-in-exile business, which is why he typed reports. Of course, they were kept […]

    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 […]

    15th May

    In October 1943 John Weidner went on a secret mission for the Dutch military attaché in Switzerland. He left Geneva at 1:00 pm on a Wednesday and crossed the border with the help of an unidentified “R”.  On the French side of the border he took the bus from St-Julien to Annecy, arriving at 3pm. […]

    5th May

    A Determined Mother

    The war impelled all sorts of people to extraordinary acts, not least of them mothers. Take, for instance, the wife of the Dutch consul general in the Vichy zone of France. Madame, as we’ll call her, had four daughters but consistently refused opportunities to leave occupied Europe with them on the grounds that it was […]

    6th Mar

    Hiding in Paris vs. Hiding in Lyon

    If you plot the known Dutch-Paris addresses for Lyon and Paris on maps, you’ll notice an interesting difference. In Lyon they’re close by each other in the same part of town, but in Paris they’re spread out across the entire city. All but one of the Dutch-Paris addresses in Lyon lie in what is known […]

    18th Feb

    Where to Cross the Border

    I had the great honor and privilege to meet a woman who sheltered refugees in her attic on the French side of the Swiss border. Her husband, we’ll call him Jean, smuggled papers over the border for Dutch-Paris on his daily bicycle rides to the university in Geneva. He also guided fugitives over that same […]

    30th Nov

    When he was still 20 years old, R.F. Anderson took off in a B-17 named “Martha” to bomb Brunswick, Germany. The German air defenses disabled the plane but the pilot and Anderson, as the navigator, managed to nurse it far enough westward that they could bail out over the Netherlands, jumping 500 feet into a […]

    26th Aug

    How to Find an Escapeline

    In July 1941 a young man we’ll call Frits (born 1918) left for England with a friend we’ll call Henk. They ran out of money in Valenciennes, France, and turned back to the Netherlands. In order to support himself and his widowed mother, Frits took a job with the CCD in The Hague as a […]

    17th Jul

    The Dutch government-in-exile in London had a problem that is today almost inconceivable: they didn’t know what was going on in the Netherlands. Nor did they have a way to communicate with the people they claimed to represent. They had to resort to clandestine means. One such was to microfilm reports and instructions and then […]

    29th Nov

    You Needed Luck Too

    A friend of mine mentioned that the blog is very interesting but I’d neglected to write about how critical a role luck played in escaping Nazi Europe. He should know because he’s an Engelandvaarder who traveled from Amsterdam to Spain via Dutch-Paris. He now lives in Tasmania and has quite convinced me to move there […]