In France, I’ve been looking through the regional and departmental archives for the Rhone (Lyon) and Haute-Savoie (Annecy) for records regarding Dutch-Paris. Given that I have the names of several people, including civil servants and police agents, who worked for the line in those cities and even the dates that a few of them were arrested by the Germans for doing so, I thought I’d find some official traces of it.

But there are very few. This telegram, loosely translated, explains why. Keep in mind that it was sent in the very last days of 1943 or first days of 1944, half a year before the Allies landed in Normandy.

“Today German police proceeded with an operation in Bernex (Haute-Savoie) during the course of which 4 evaders of forced labor [réfractaires] were killed, 5 persons were executed [fusillés], 9 chalets and 2 houses burned – stop – Mayor and baker arrested – stop – Reason given: peasants have not delivered quotas set by food authorities [Ravitaillement Général] and the presence of a bust of the Republic at the town hall – End.”*

There are other reports about partisans requisitioning food and kidnapping presumed collaborators from buses. The Alps were boiling with guerrilla warfare. The French authorities had more pressing concerns than a few unarmed Samaritans smuggling foreigners out of the country. Besides, the Germans were taking care of it.

*Archives départementales du Rhone, 182 W 269, regional prefect in Lyon to Ministry of the Interior, Police at Vichy, no date.