Diego Gaspar Celaya
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Lennert Savenije
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Inherently transnational
Escape lines
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This chapter explores the question of rescue which was another dimension of resistance to Nazi and fascist rule. Migration and flight were no longer possible, and escape lines were organised illegally to move stranded Allied servicemen, resistance activists or Jews. Couriers guided people and also carried cash for resistance activity and intelligence for the Allies. They were ‘inherently transnational’ in that they defied national boundaries, leading from occupied territories across borders to neutral countries such as Switzerland or Spain or out of Europe. They were also transnational in that they were often run by expatriates who were diplomats, clergy or businesspeople, although they relied on local contacts such as smugglers, customs officers, railway officials or garagists. Escape lines might be long-distance for Allied pilots or shorter-distance for Dutch students who had been drafted as forced labourers to work in Germany and needed support to get back across the frontier.

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Fighters across frontiers

Transnational resistance in Europe, 1936–48

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