As I mentioned in the last post, Dutch-Paris was far from the only escape line operating in Europe during the Second World War, but only a few enjoy postwar fame. Here’s an example of one that I came across repeatedly in my research but has been all but forgotten.

If this line has a name, I never saw it. So we’ll call it Line X. Line X was based in Brussels around a group of young Dutch expatriates and led by a young banker who worked for a local branch of a Dutch bank. Round about 1942 other young Dutchmen started asking the banker to help them escape to England. He opened his home to Engelandvaarders and gathered together some other young Dutchmen to get these Engelandvaarders out of occupied territory.

The banker had plenty of connections in the Netherlands and Belgium, but not so many in France. So a couple of his associates went to Paris to find a clandestine route to Spain. They made contact with a Polish officer who was running an escape line over the Pyrenees and was willing to add a Dutch section to his resistance organization.

At the same time, a separate group of Dutch expatriates in Brussels was also helping Dutch refugees. They were known as the Committee for the Support of Dutch War Victims in Brussels (the Comité for short). In October 1943 the Comité joined Dutch-Paris. But before that, they sometimes passed Engelandvaarders to the banker heading Line X in order to get the men to Spain. The problem was that the Polish officer charged Dutchmen a very high fee and used the extra to pay for Poles to get to Spain. Naturally, the Dutch businessmen in the Comité did not like paying such high fees and stopped passing men to Line X as soon as they had access to Dutch-Paris’s route to Spain.

In November 1943 German police captured the Pole and the Dutchman in charge of the Dutch section in Paris. A few days later they arrested the banker and a few of his associates in Belgium and the Netherlands. They were deported to the concentration camps and that was the end of that escape line.

The banker and the others who had been deported to the concentration camps did not return to their homes until the summer of 1945.  In the meantime, their colleagues who had escaped arrest joined other resistance organizations.  One of them joined Dutch-Paris in December 1943 as a way to get a bunch of Engelandvaarders who had been stranded in France by the November arrests into Spain.  At the Liberation, he identified himself as part of Dutch-Paris.  By the time the banker came home from the concentration camps in very poor health, his line had already been forgotten.