Sometimes it seems like the whole of Europe was on the move during the Second World War. Most belonged to the obvious categories: soldiers, refugees from military actions or bombing, forced laborers, Jews. Resisters were also on the move, of course. They were a small minority, but their stories are surprisingly diverse.

Take that of a certain Dutchman whom we’ll call Ton. Apparently he got into a spot of trouble with the Gestapo in Calais in 1942 because he’d been helping German deserters. (I wish I could tell you just how he’d been helping German deserters, but he didn’t consider that part of the story important enough to write down.)

Somehow or other he got out of the Gestapo’s hands, and he and his wife fled to southern France. Like so many fugitives, they ran out of money. As he was looking for jobs, the French police made it clear to Ton that the Germans were still interested in him. The couple left for Lyon, where they explained their situation to the Dutch consul.

The consul (who would later be deported to the concentration camps because of his role in Dutch-Paris) introduced them to John Weidner. Weidner gave them some money and promised to get them to Switzerland once he’d verified their identities. A few days later he came back with false identification documents and took the couple to his shop in Annecy, not far from the Swiss border in Haute-Savoie. After hiding in Weidner’s textile shop for a few more days, Weidner and the couple took a taxi to the Swiss border. The drive probably took about half an hour, maybe more depending on road conditions and the wartime taxi’s capabilities. At the border, the couple followed Weidner’s instructions and escaped into Switzerland.

So although most Dutch-Paris stories are about people who wanted to get to Switzerland or Spain because they were Jewish, or were trying to join the Allied armies, or had a recognized role in the Dutch Resistance, this is the first time I’ve come across someone who was fleeing because they’d been helping Germans, albeit German deserters. Dutch-Paris helped everyone. They probably would have smuggled the German deserters over the border if they’d asked them to.