Welcome to the website! Tell us what you think!

August 3, 2016

We are very excited to welcome you to 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.  Because of my book, most of the stories which have been sent to me have been about escape from France Read more →

‘Why the Belgian Diamonds never fell into enemy hands’ Bruno Comer tells us about this new book

November 16, 2014

  The Royal Commission of History has just published  ’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 Read more →

Remembering Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux in June 1940

August 15, 2014

Aristides de Sousa Mendes (1885-1954) was the Portuguese Consul-General in Bordeaux, France, in June 1940. There, as dramatic events unfolded across war-afflicted Europe, Sousa Mendes disobeyed the orders of Portugal’s Salazar dictatorship and issued visas to thousands of refugees fleeing from invading German military forces. For his actions, the Consul was punished by the Portuguese Read more →

Ivor Samuels: family and experiences on the Fleeing Hitler website.

September 25, 2013

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 at the bottom of the page? The “Fleeing Hitler” website has been a remarkable catalyst for finding Read more →

David Symington writes about the Bath Trekkers

Bath : a group of evacuees March 11, 2013

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. As well as official evacuees, residents would often take to the roads with possessions piled on carts to escape further Read more →

Colin Child comments on hunting down stories from the past

From left, cousin Claudine, Patrick and Dinah, all watched over by Ninou December 5, 2012

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that:   “History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies”. Well, maybe. What is certain is that this website is a gallery of original pictures, stories written by people who participated in real-life events, anxious, as my late wife Dinah was, to record their impressions Read more →

Daphne Wall comments on writing about her memories

November 18, 2012

My parents had lived in France for thirteen  happy  years, the best of their lives. They’d lost their house, possessions, and more seriously in the long term,   my father had  lost his job. He’d been working for an American company and the Americans at that stage of the war were still neutral.    (Roosevelt’s refusal to Read more →

An appeal for information to help Elly Sherman’s case for compensation

November 18, 2012

Elly Sherman’s extraordinary story first came to my attention because her niece wrote to me about a claim she is making on her grandmother’s behalf for  ’compensation of loss of personal property at the behest of La Commission pour l’indemnisation des victimes de spoliations interervenues du fait des législations antisémites en vigueur pendant l’Occupation (CIVS) at Read more →

From Paris to Liverpool via Frontstalag 142

November 16, 2012

From Paris to Liverpool via Frontstalag 142 “Running from the bombs! We were running from the bombs!” cried my stepmother when I asked her where she spent the Second World War. My boomer generation will have had many a relative unwilling to recall life under Hitler, but decades later, still haunted by their experiences, some Read more →

Hanna Diamond comments on Philip Smith’s stories about his trip through France

November 15, 2012

Philip Smith’s account of his trip through France and eventual escape by boat is quite remarkable. We can imagine the Smith family setting out each on the bicycle they would normally use to go on picnics in the St Germain forest just west of Paris. We can strongly identify with his ten year-old self as Read more →