Searching for the Dutch-Paris Escape Line
Following on the last two posts about resisters belonging to more than one network, here’s another story from Dutch-Paris. This one did not turn out so well.
There was a middle-aged widow in Paris, we’ll call her Anne, who opened her apartment to downed Allied aviators as part of Dutch-Paris. Some of these men stayed there for a few hours but others lived with her for weeks while she nursed them over an ailment so that they could continue their clandestine journey to Spain.
She was arrested in the big Dutch-Paris round up in late February 1944 and, like her colleagues, interrogated roughly. There was no question of her involvement in the escape line because the Germans found an RAF pilot in her apartment when they arrested her. But even so, she endured more interrogations of greater brutality than other Dutch-Paris resisters at her relatively low level in the organization. She was not a leader and knew only the small group with whom she worked directly: her neighbor and two others. She got the extra torture because the German police who searched her apartment (before another German unit stole everything in it including appliances), found a calling card in one of her pockets. The card had come with a bunch of flowers and was signed “Thierry.”
Unfortunately for Anne, her interrogators knew or guessed that “Thierry” was an alias of a British agent working for the Intelligence Service [IS]. Months before Anne had gotten involved in Dutch-Paris, she had agreed to hide papers, weapons and agents for the Intelligence Service in her apartment. That was exceedingly risky, far riskier than Dutch-Paris’s doings. The IS may have found her because her husband had been a military attaché and the couple had lived in several countries. It is unlikely that her colleagues in Dutch-Paris had any idea that she was involved with the IS.
Without the German documents, it is impossible to say whether they thought that Dutch-Paris had links to the IS (which it did not) and questioned other Dutch-Paris prisoners about it, or if they accepted that Anne had been involved in both groups without acting as a link between them.
Like so many other prisoners, Anne was deported to the concentration camps. She survived.