I made the perhaps rash prediction in my last blog that no one will have questions about the title of the American edition of my book, The Escape Line (coming out with Oxford in June 2018). There may not be questions but someone will surely object that Dutch-Paris was not the only escape line and not the most famous escape line either. Both are true.

All sorts of escape lines operated across Europe during the Second World War. Some took Jews to safety, some took soldiers and aviators, some took civilians. Some worked in a strictly local area to get people across a particular border in a particular place while others, like Dutch-Paris, covered entire countries. Some had funding from the Allied militaries or from international organizations or governments in exile while others received no outside money at all.

Something many people do not know is that the escape lines started long before the war did and kept operating after the Third Reich’s total surrender in May 1945. These postwar lines smuggled Jews out of Europe and into Palestine, or Nazis out of Europe, or all sorts of people out of areas controlled by the Soviets. The prewar lines whisked people away from the Nazis or their associates. Many of them worked along the borders of Central Europe, but a number also operated in the Pyrenees Mountains along the Franco-Spanish border.

Before 1939 the escape routes in the Pyrenees brought Spanish refugees out of the battle zones of the Spanish Civil War. Most of them were supporters of the Spanish Republic and opponents of General Franco, who won the civil war with the assistance of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy in 1939. Spanish historians have put together a fascinating website about some of these routes at http://www.recurut.eu/es/. The website is in Spanish and French, but if you’d like to see photos from six routes click on Galeria de Imágenes. If you’d like to see interviews with local people click on Entrevistas.