Money was as critical for Resistance as it is for almost everything else. But for the most part resisters did not keep careful accounts of it. Most resisters did not have the time or the means or a safe way to keep accounts. After all, receipts and expense sheets could be used as incriminating evidence if the enemy captured them. Nor did most resisters have sufficient motivation to count the pennies. They were risking their lives for the greater good, not trying to turn a profit.

Dutch-Paris, however, did keep some accounts. It came naturally to the majority of its leaders who were businessmen. And after they started receiving financial support from the Dutch government-in-exile, they became accountable to the government for the expenditure of its funds. Furthermore, they had a safe place to keep some of the accounts in Switzerland. Unfortunately the accounts that were kept in France or Belgium were either burned or captured.

The accounts kept in Switzerland were mostly expense accounts submitted by the main Dutch-Paris couriers. They tell us many things. Obviously, they record prices. The price of a passeur over the Pyrenees. The price of a rucksack in Toulouse at the end of the war. How much money Dutch-Paris paid to a certain restaurant to feed fugitives. How much a train ticket between Paris and Annecy or Paris and Brussels cost.

The accounts also give us the chronological structure of the Dutch-Paris leadership. They record the date that a courier paid a passeur to take so many American airmen over the Pyrenees, and sometimes even provide the names of the aviators. From looking at his expense reports, I can tell you what city a certain courier was in for almost every day between October 1943 and September 1944. More than any other documents, they testify to that man’s dedication and almost incredible skill.

The more general overview accounts help to explain how much money Dutch-Paris distributed across France and Belgium to support Jews and others in hiding. They also help to explain how the resisters raised that money and how they exchanged Swiss francs for Belgian or French francs and transferred the cash across borders at a time of repressive currency controls.

The financial records do not explain Dutch-Paris, but they provide details not found in other documents and give them a necessary structure.