The question of getting money across borders during the occupation that Weidner solved with postage stamps in the last blog post bedeviled other Dutch-Paris resisters and, indeed, the whole line. They came up with a number of arrangements that added up to a private, clandestine banking system that stretched from the Netherlands through Belgium and France to Switzerland.

These things started on a small scale between family members. For example, a Dutchman whom we’ll call Joseph lived and worked in Brussels, Belgium, while his father, a retired colonel, lived in Maastricht, the Netherlands. When family friends decided to leave the Netherlands illegally because they were Jews, the Colonel offered his son’s help. Because Jews were not allowed to take themselves or any currency out of the country, the Jewish family gave the Colonel a certain sum in Dutch guilders. When they arrived in Brussels, Joseph took the equivalent amount in Belgian francs out of his own bank account to give to the fugitives. Of course they made this exchange at the legal, official exchange rate, which was the most favorable one for the fugitives but was unavailable to most civilians. Joseph and his father held themselves to the highest ethical standards while breaking the law, a common enough paradox for resisters.

Being an insurance agent with seven children at home, Joseph soon ran out of personal funds for such exchanges. Having money in a bank account in the Netherlands, after all, was no help when it came to buying groceries in Brussels. But Joseph did not give up on the problem of transferring and exchanging money. He cultivated the friendship of bankers on both sides of the border and utilized a crack in the laws that allowed Dutch citizens to send a small amount of money to family in Belgium each month.

Eventually he found a Dutch cheese broker who could exchange Dutch guilders for Belgian francs on the official exchange and was willing to include some Dutch-Paris guilders in those transactions.

In the meantime, Joseph became so well versed in the underground financial market in Brussels that he heard about it when a Belgian man tried to sell stocks on the black market. Investigating, Joseph found out that the Belgian had used up his savings to hide three very small Dutch children whose parents had been deported. He arranged for Dutch-Paris to take over the financial responsibility for the children’s care. By that time, the businessmen in Dutch-Paris had figured out a way to get money from the Dutch government-in-exile to support needy Dutchmen in Belgium.