From Paris to London in June 1940
The five of us left Paris at 5pm in a second hand 24hp Hudson two-seater with ‘dickey’, with a full tank of petrol,
New book addresses why the Belgian Diamonds never fell into enemy hands.
On 11 May 1940 Paul Timbal, managing director of the Antwerp Diamond Bank, fled the Diamond Quarter in Antwerp with a fortune in diamonds and on 23 June was able to deliver his charge to the Diamond Corporation in London. In those six chaotic weeks, he traversed France from Valenciennes to Cannes and from Paris to Bordeaux, besides flying to London and back. Few travelled the area behind the front line so extensively.
Remembering Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux in June 1940
"From now on I'm giving everyone visas. There will be no more nationalities, races or religions": remembering Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux in June 1940
2014 - the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of France
2014 is an important year of commemoration for scholars of France. It is not just the start of the centenary celebrations for the outbreak of the First World War which is dominating media attention at present, but it also marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 1944 and the Liberation which took place throughout the summer of 1944.
That terrible day by Kate Brookes
I should like to go back a few weeks earlier to the invasion of Holland and later Belgium, which brought into France, especially Paris, thousands of refugees. Day and night they poured into the City
Anka's escape from Belgrade, by Snezana Lawrence
Anka was my grandmother. She was born in 1906, the youngest of the five children of Ljubica and Nikola. Even though her name had a Hebrew origin, the outward appearance of my grandmother’s family was thoroughly Christian, Serbian...
Welcome to the website! Tell us what you think of it.
We are very excited to announce the launch of this website which is a place for you to read about people's wartime experiences and to post your and your family's stories about the Second World War.
Ivor Samuels: family and experiences on the Fleeing Hitler website.
Ivor discusses his own experience of finding out about his family during the war. This includes the accounts of his wife Olga and his cousin Solange Why not post your own thoughts on Ivor, Olga and Solange’s stories?
Memories of the War: Sabine Solange Mantel née Hoch
Sabine recalls the experiences of her family, as they moved around occupied Europe.
Hidden Children in France by Joseph Sungolowsky
When Belgium was invaded by the Nazis on May 10, 1940, my family consisting of my maternal grandfather, aged 80, my parents, my older sister Fina, my brother and me, fled on a train to France.
Edith and Marcel Vogel
My mother had always been a most hospitable person. ... It was this side of my mother's character that brought us all into contact, at least three years before the war broke out, with the horrors of the Nazi regime and the appalling persecution of the Jews in the concentration camps
A Teacher in Vichy France by John Fletcher
Until his retirement a few years ago Louis Pédussaud was a teacher at Saint-Gaudens
David Symington writes about the Bath Trekkers
Dr Diamond's description of refugees fleeing from the northern departments of France, and Paris, in the face of the German advance of 1940 had echoes in Britain when cities were bombed later in the war.
Meg, Lillian, and Gabrielle Coakley: "Bang! Bang! Bang!"
With shaking hands, Madame Balbis unlocked the metal door to the walled garden of the house she shared with her husband, daughter and two grandchildren. A French policeman and two German soldiers strode past her into the kitchen where Monsieur Balbis and his daughter Gabrielle stood in their dressing gowns.
In February 1942, some months after the Coakleys had settled in England, Gabrielle Coakley’s father, Charles Balbis (62), had gone into hiding in the French Pyrenees, with his wife, daughter, Jewish son-in-law and two infant grandsons...
Olga Samuels. Escape from Italy
Before taking refuge in the large old fashioned villa in Carate Urio on Lake Como, belonging to my great Aunt Eugenia, I lived with my parents in an apartment block not far from Milan Central Station. I was born in Milan in 1936. Several nights I was woken up in the middle of the night by a long siren, announcing an air raid by British war planes...
Colin Child comments on hunting down stories from the past
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that: “History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies”.
Daphne Wall. "Flight from France: a Child's Eye View"
From 1932 to 1940 I lived with my parents in Le Vésinet, a peaceful suburb of Paris...
Philip Smith. "Summer 1940. The fateful day"
On 11th June, my father returned from the Paris office at lunch time – he had walked the 7 kilometres, because the railway termini were jammed with people
The memory of the cruelty and violence by the Germans during the first World War triggered strong feelings of hate and anger in the Belgium population
Joanne Silvers talks about her work publishing war testimonies
In my research as a publisher and speaker on the Holocaust in France, I discovered Hanna Diamond’s book Fleeing Hitler: France 1940, and found that the material therein fit perfectly my thirst for more background knowledge, and resonated with the mission of our company, Beach Lloyd Publishers.
Elly Sherman. "War years: from Paris to Troyes"
When the nightly sirens warning us of German planes coming in became too frequent, and our trips to the shelter, at the bottom of a deep metro station, became too scary,...
‘Great Escapes’ by Dinah Child
We had to leave Paris quickly. I well remember climbing into a horse-drawn cart in the dark of the moon, being covered with blankets and told not to say a word, cough or sneeze because we were not to be heard or seen.
Charlotte Heatherly comments on sharing Josette's memories with the project
n the winter of 2009, I had the privilege of helping my friend Josette with the process of dying. She had a lifetime of stories, most of which she had told to her family throughout the years.
Josette Blodgett. "L'Exode"
I was not quite 12 years old when the German army marched under the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs Elysses.