A reader asked me why the Dutch edition of the book is called Gewone Helden (Ordinary Heroes) when everyone involved with Dutch-Paris was far from ordinary. In fact, she said, they were extraordinarily courageous and selfless. It goes without saying that she is correct. I’ll share my explanation below in case anyone else was wondering the same thing.

“Of course, by definition every hero is extraordinary. What I think is so impressive about the men and women of Dutch-Paris is that they were very ordinary people before the war. They were students or businessmen or housewives or shopkeepers. They were all respectable people living respectable lives. During the war, most ordinary people kept living their respectable lives as best they could. They did not break the law in order to help a stranger. They did not risk trouble for themselves and their families. The men and women of Dutch-Paris, on the other hand, started out as ordinary but refused to accept what “ordinary” meant during the occupation. They refused to look the other way. They rescued the persecuted. After the war they went back to their ordinary, respectable lives. Almost all of them made nothing out of their wartime heroism after the war. And so they were both ordinary people and great heroes. They are an inspiration to all of us.”

No one will have any questions about the title of the American edition of the book because it will be called The Escape Line. Oxford University Press will publish it in June 2018.