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 truck, however, had already gotten off before anyone realized it was a trap.

After the second truck left, the Gestapo agents pulled their guns on the French resistance leader from Livry-Gargan and started looking for aviators. The four Frenchwomen who were acting as guides kept walking in the crowds. One of them was stopped but convinced the Gestapo agents that she was on her way to the market. A British aviator, the engineer on a Lancaster bomber, also managed to walk away through the crowd because, according to an American, he looked like a young boy.

A Polish Spitfire pilot in the RAF and an American mill worker from Washington State also walked away. These two, another RAF officer, and a Frenchwoman thought it was too risky to be standing around in the square with such a large group of fugitives so they went into a café. While they were there, a man came in, acting very suspiciously in the view of the Polish pilot. The man said something that made everyone else leave the café. The aviators and their guide, however, finished their coffees and walked over to a bus stop, where they were told to go to the market place. The Pole did not want to be in a large group, so they waited on a street corner where they could see both the bus stop and the market place.

Two Germans with drawn revolvers approached them, but they held steady in their places and the Germans passed by. About five minutes later they saw the rest of their group from Livry-Gargan standing together with their hands up, surrounded by Gestapo.

The Frenchwoman walked in one direction and the Pole and the American walked down an alley. The Pole went up the outside stairs of a house and asked if he could sit down and have a drink of water, but the occupants told him they could not help him.

After a while, the two men walked to the bus stop and bought tickets to Livry-Gargan. Their French guide was on the same bus, so they all traveled together. She took them to a new hiding place. Their host, who sold meat on the black market, took them to his mother’s house in another suburb of Paris for fear that someone who was arrested in Pantin would talk about Livry-Gargan. None of them did. Both the Pole and the American reached Spain with the help of Dutch-Paris in February 1944.