In February 1943 a Dutch man of Jewish descent showed up at a farm in the Jura Mountains of France that was owned by a Dutch couple. The man had probably been on the run for months and probably had no relation with the farmer other than a shared ability to speak Dutch. The farmer gave him a place to sleep, food and clothing, as he had already given several other Jewish fugitives.

This man distinguished himself from the other refugees at the farm, however, because he had been separated from his wife in their flight from the Netherlands. We can presume that he was worried, if not downright distraught, over this. Given that he must have stumbled onto the farm, perhaps even being sent there by a sympathetic French police officer who was well-known to the farmer, how would his wife ever find him?

It probably worried the farmer too. But being a man who knew whom to trust and how to get things done, he set about finding the missing wife. Fortunately for them, the couple were reunited on the farm in April 1943. Unfortunately for us, the farmer wasn’t one to waste time praising himself and didn’t go into details about how he found the woman, who was undoubtedly consumed with worries of her own.

Two weeks later, traveling on a safe conduct issued by another French official with whom the farmer was on excellent terms, the couple traveled to Evian. From there Dutch-Paris got them over the border into Switzerland.

The couple survived the war and returned to the French border region to thank those who had helped them in 1946. The farmer and his wife also survived the war, despite several German raids on their farm. And the French officials who helped them shelter the fugitives also survived, which was not always the case. It is, for once, a true story that was fraught with anxiety and shadowed by tragedy at every turn that nonetheless had a happy ending.