There were all sorts of ways to join the Resistance. For some, it was just another, more dynamic, way of hiding.

Threatened with deportation to “the east” (i.e. the extermination camps) in 1942 like all other Jewish persons in the Netherlands, the “van Caneghem” family found a hiding place in July 1942. The parents, their daughter and their two sons left it in November 1942 with the intention of getting out of Europe via Spain. Unluckily, they were arrested in Lille and spent a month in prison before being deported.

One of their sons jumped from that train near Liege and made his way to the home of one of his father’s school friends in Brussels. His father’s friend introduced him to a Dutch Jewish businessman in Brussels who was a founding member of the Comité tot Steun van Nederlandse Oorlogsslachtoffers in België [The Committee to Support Dutch War Victims in Belgium]and who gave him a place to stay and a stipend to live on.

The young man was 24 years old. He had been educated and trained to take over his father’s Hessia n factory. In the present circumstances he turned his energies to setting up an exchange of the illegal press between the Netherlands and Belgium under the alias van Caneghem.

By May 1943 he had started working for the Comité, distributing false documents to people in hiding and such. When the Germans arrested the man who gave him the hiding place and the stipend in July 1943, van Caneghem took over his tasks of keeping the “social work” going. He expanded beyond hiding people to set up an escape line for Allied pilots and Engelandvaarders to Spain.

The escape line was a joint effort with some Dutch university students and maréchausees (similar to gendarmes) who were specializing in rescuing downed Allied pilots. The German security services arrested van Caneghem when they “rolled-up” that line in November 1943. Apparently they didn’t know about his connection to Dutch-Paris because he spent the rest of the war sitting in the prison of St. Gilles in Brussels “for lack of proof.” Note that the proof wasn’t sufficiently lacking to get him released, just to prevent him from being deported or executed, which I think it’s safe to say was good enough for him.

After the liberation of Belgium, van Caneghem joined the army to become a liaison officer with an Allied repatriation mission. He married the daughter of the family friend who first sheltered him in Brussels and rebuilt his family’s textile business.