My research on Dutch-Paris constantly reminds me that wars don’t end when the fighting stops. This is most obvious in the cases of those resisters who survived the concentration camps but then died young after years of broken health. But even those who escaped deportation and made successful careers for themselves never quite got over the war.

Take the case of a Dutchman we’ll call De Jong. Like many other students, he left his university in 1942 when the Germans required a loyalty oath (to themselves of course). In August 1943 he became a regular courier for the Swiss Way between Amsterdam and Brussels. That meant that he smuggled microfilms over the border then turned them over to another Dutch-Paris courier to be taken on to Switzerland in exchange for microfilms heading back to the Resistance in Amsterdam. After the “roll-up” [arrests] of Dutch-Paris in February 1944, De Jong took over responsibility for the “mail” in Brussels until the liberation in September ’44.

Eventually, he finished his studies and had a successful career in the Dutch government. But the war could still ambush him 30 years later. I’ll quote from a letter written by another Swiss Way courier to John Henry Weidner (who also carried microfilms) in April 1974 and kindly translated by Janet Carper.

“It’s odd about [de Jong]. In ’42 while going to Switzerland, he was taken by the French and turned over to the Germans. Both interrogated him in their own way. He managed to escape, but that bothered him for some time and then he forgot about it. During his stay in Lima a year ago [1973], he met a German, a representative of an international organization like himself, and his way of speaking and his haughty attitude reminded him of his interrogation in ’42. He was so overcome, that he began to drink to forget about it. After a few months he again stopped drinking alcohol. Strange isn’t it?”

The only thing that seems strange to me is that he managed to stop drinking. But I suppose that the same impressive qualities that allowed him to throw himself back into danger by volunteering to smuggle enemy intelligence in 1943 also allowed him to pull himself back together in 1973. If the war never left you, neither did being a Resister.