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 during the invasion by Hitler’s armies, but we would be interested in any other family stories about the period. So please send us what you have on the submit a story page.  Only a few stories are featured on the home page, use the search engine, the interactive map and the index page to find the full selection of stories available on the site. Also read our blogs which are full of comments on the stories and some appeals from people who sent them in.

In any case, don’t leave the site without leaving us a comment as we are keen to hear what you think and will act on your suggestions.

Don’t forget to come back and visit us again soon as we will be adding new stories and blogs all the time as they come in.



  1. Bruno Comer says:

    Dear professor Diamond,
    I’m a researcher from Belgium and have consulted and mentioned ‘Fleeing Hitler’ a lot of times in a new book about the exodus in 1940 that will be published within a few months: ‘Why the Belgian diamonds never fell into enemy hands’.
    Paul Timbal, a director of the Antwerp Diamond Bank, wrote in 1943 this report about his experiences in 1940. He fled to France with a fortune on diamonds in his car and arrived finally in England (Falmouth) on Jun 23 on board of the Broompark. This interesting story will now be published by the Belgian Royal Commission to History and I wrote an extensive introduction and the footnotes. I would like your address, so that I can mail you a copy of the book.


    Bruno Comer
    Weststraat 35
    8340 Damme
    Tel 050 50 00 86

    • Hanna says:

      Dear Bruno,
      Many thanks for your comment – you book sounds very exciting and what an extraordinary story! Would you like to write a blog for us about the book – kind of advance publicity with a few photos? We’d love to hear about it… I’ll email you separately with my address for you to send the book. Many thanks again, Hanna

  2. Ludivine Broch says:

    This is an excellent website, many congratulations! I look forward to sharing it with my students who will undoubtedly benefit hugely from this.

  3. Scott Stermer says:

    I am doing research for a possible novel involving fleeing Paris in June, 1940 for Switzerland. Please provide any relevant information or stories to my e-mail. Thank you very much for your assistance and for your excellent book.

    • Brett Edwards says:

      Thanks for your message Scott. I Will send anything through that might be of interest as it comes online. You can also follow us on twitter or facebook @ fleeinghitler. I can recommend using the locations search app on this website too to search for Paris related stories.

  4. Jo Hartland says:

    This is a wonderful resource , vivid and fascinating. I think that you would really benefit hanna, if the site had a ‘Facebook’ like button – lots of people would like it, and that woudl direct their friends to take a look – and you could get a lot of new input and resources.. .just an idea for using Social Meida to your advantage. Twitter too, i think, though i am a novice on that front!

  5. Ayshka says:

    What an amazing resource! Such an excellent outlet for people from all backgrounds and nationalities to share their experiences. Living in Bath, I found the article about the Bath Trekkers particularly interesting – Mrs Potter’s grandma being left at home in bed, oblivious to all that was going on! I’m looking forward to reading new articles as they come in!

  6. Sue Owen says:

    Oral history is an important method by which non academics can actively participate in making history. I think you have created an amazing resource for ordinary people to understand their past by being able to read eye witness accounts and stories which have been passed down through families just like theirs This site is commendable and I hope more people are encouraged to contribute.

  7. Jon Wilkins says:

    This is an amazing resource, thanks to everyone who has put something on. I wondered though how did people get to travel through France in early days of war. I read about urbanites travelling to countryside to get black market goods, would they need a special pass to travel? and would you need special permission to go from vichy to say Paris?

  8. Manav says:


    Excellent site! I enjoyed the layout and the content! I share similar interests – albeit through the lens of military theory/ science/ history – and can related to much of the materials that you have posted here. A very commendable initiative! I look forward to reading more!

  9. Miranda says:

    Rearlly interesting to be able to learn about the detail of peoples experiences that might otherwise be lost. Great website!

  10. Gavin says:

    This is a great addition to the ‘Fleeing Hitler’ book, preserving a fascinating archive of personal histories to read along with the sad history of the collapse of the French Republic. As with the book,to have this material available in English is a wonderful asset for those of us who are both interested in the social history of war, but ‘linguistically challenged’..

  11. Caroline Waterlow says:

    Great website. A wonderful opportunity for people to have a voice with their stories, which otherwise might have disappeared unheard.

  12. Mina Bancheva says:

    I have been very interested to read about Hanna Diamond’s research. As a psychotherapist, I work with many clients who come from family systems marked by trauma caused by the Holocaust. In my work, I try to help my clients face up to and work through the intergenerational impact of family members either surviving or indeed perishing in the Holocaust. The effects on the generations that follow are well documented ( see the work of Bert Hellinger and Franz Ruppert) and systemic work as well as EMDR are often effective therapies in helping people process the the trauma that has been passed down from previous generations.

    • Hanna says:

      Thanks for your comment Mina. I have had the strong impression that the families of Holocaust victims who have contacted me have felt a particular need to communicate and share their stories and I hope this website can provide a forum for this. It would be good if, as you suggest, this website could be helpful to them in processing this trauma, .

  13. Barbara Belland says:

    “Captured” has piqued my interest and I’m looking forward to the book. Excellent story.

  14. Roly Aknin says:

    Nothing carries as much weight or creates empathy and bonds as much as a story; stories are a fundamental part of human intelligence and imagination. These stories, with their heroic characters and dramatic, often tragic events, are part of our common history. This is not only an interesting site – it is an important one.

  15. Harry Charrington says:

    Really good – lovely accessible presentation and links. Thanks

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