As soon as I start to tell a story, I run into the problem of names. The documents usually give the full names of the members of Dutch-Paris, with the exception of those who never told their colleagues their true name before their arrests and then deaths in deportation. But would it be right to publish the names on the web?

Why not? you ask. Aren’t these people heroes? They certainly are, but that doesn’t mean that they have happy memories of the war. Most of them lived in fear for months, even years. Some of them were betrayed to the enemy by people they considered friends. Some were tortured. Many spent agonizing months in concentration camps, permanently undermining their health. Even those who evaded arrest may not want to bring up the past. After all, they may have built a life in the intervening sixty-some years that doesn’t have room for the Resistance.

I think these men and women deserve their privacy. So I will use either their first names alone, or what the Dutch call their schuilnaam, literally “shelter name”, and the French call their nom de guerre, literally “wartime name”. In English we have to settle for the less picturesque “pseudonym” or “alias”. I have no doubt that if an English-speaking country had been occupied by the Third Reich we’d have another word for it with the reverberations of danger that echo through nom de guerre and schuilnaam. Let’s be grateful that we don’t.

The exception to the rule of using first names or pseudonyms will be those individuals, like John Henry Weidner, who were the publicly recognized leaders of Dutch-Paris, or those who have given me permission to use their names in this blog. If you read your own story on these pages and would like your full name recognized, I will happily change it. Just send me a message via the comment box below.