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  • Stories Category

    11th Feb

    What was the Escape Committee?

    Considering that the Second World War went on for six years and it was the duty of every British officer to attempt to escape capture, it’s not surprising that POWs spent quite a bit of time devising escapes. Officers, at least, didn’t have much else to do. But it wasn’t easy to get out of […]

    28th Jan

    Escape from Colditz

    Most of the Allied servicemen whom Dutch-Paris smuggled out of occupied territory via the Pyrenees and Spain were aviators who had bailed out of their airplanes or crash landed them in the Netherlands, Belgium or France. That was certainly the case with the men who were arrested – or not- at the Porte de Pantin […]

    14th Jan

    The only French resister to be arrested at the Porte de Pantin in December 1943 (see earlier posts) was the leader of the group from Livry-Gargan. We’ll call him the grocer. His arrest caused a lot of worry to his colleagues and everyone who was helping aviators in town because they expected the Gestapo to […]

    31st Dec

    Let’s continue the story of the Gestapo trap for Allied aviators at the Porte de Pantin, Paris, in December 1943. Sixteen aviators were arrested that afternoon, but 15 got away. How? Some were lucky enough to be on a truck driven by a quick-witted resister who pulled away in time. The men in the first […]

    17th Dec

    Capture at the Porte de Pantin

    Seventy-four years ago, on December 16, 1943, 16 Allied aviators fell into a Gestapo trap at the Porte de Pantin in Paris. The men had bailed out of their fighter planes or crash landed their bombers across northern France. The engine of one British Typhoon had simply cut out, forcing the pilot to land in […]

    5th Nov

    Here’s another story connected to the forgotten Dutch escape line I described in the last post. It involves a German Jewish family who had the foresight to leave Germany while they could. They relocated to Amsterdam until the war made that city unsafe as well. They moved again, this time to a flat above a […]

    13th Jun

    Why was the Daughter Arrested?

    In the last post I talked about Commander Lecatre, as we’ll call him, of the GMR, who was using his position as a Vichy border patrol to sneak resisters and others into and out of Spain. He and his daughter were arrested in May 1943. Why was his 20-year-old daughter arrested? She did not work […]

    22nd Dec

    In 1944-45 my father lived on the eastern side of the river in Maastricht, not far from the railway station and the Bailey bridge that the US Army slung across the Maas for heavy artillery and troops on their way to Germany. He and all the other kids in the neighborhood had a lot to […]

    26th May

    Wartime Reputations

    In the last post I mentioned that different resistance groups sometimes crossed in a single person. This was especially true among what is sometimes called the humanitarian resistance, ie resisters who offered aid to fugitives and prisoners. The nature of that illegal work meant that a lot of people had to be involved to provide […]

    1st Apr

    In honor of the 70th anniversary of the “Great Escape” on March 24, I’ll tell you Dutch-Paris’s part of the story. If you’ve seen the old movie, you know that the “Great Escape” happened when several dozen Allied POW’s tunneled out of a maximum security fortress in Sagan. Only three of those men made it […]