Searching for the Dutch-Paris Escape Line
I’ve been thinking about resisters’ families since my last blog but I can’t come to any conclusion. The men and women of Dutch-Paris had many different family situations during the war. Weidner himself was married, but did not have children. There were widowed women with grown children; young men and women who lived with their parents; bachelor businessmen in their 30’s; men in their 40’s or 50’s who lived with their wives and children, and single Jewish men and women who knew that the rest of their families had been deported “to the east.”
Furthermore, the families don’t often come up in the documents. The documents ask what actions an individual took. They never, ever, ask how that individual’s mother felt about any of it. But there are a few hints. In some families, the men kept the women in the dark in the hopes of protecting them from anxiety. An Engelandvaarder said that his father came to say good-bye and give him some foreign currency but he left without telling his mother or sisters. A resister said that he sewed his own secret pocket because he didn’t want to increase his mother’s worry. On the other hand, there were mothers in the group who opened their homes to Engelandvaarders and other fugitives. Dutch-Paris could not have existed without the active participation of women of all ages, who certainly knew what they were doing.
There are no blanket explanations for resister’s families just like there are no blanket explanations for resisters. Each person and each family acted as individuals, doing what they felt was best according to their own situations and circumstances. One thing is certain, though. Every resistance family is still living today with the consequences of the choices that their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents made during the war.