On a hot August night in 1941, a twenty-four year old Belgian girl silently crouched in the darkness along the River Somme scarcely breathing as a German patrol officer bicycled by little more than a footfall away from the weeds that concealed her. If caught, she would be put to death—punishment for her seditious act of leading eleven fugitives fleeing from the Gestapo.
This would be her closest brush with the German conquerors so far. The dangers would increase as the German secret police honed their hunting skills. Her odds of surviving would continually decrease. But she brazenly defied the Nazis, rescuing Allied airmen while the German Gestapo, Abwehr, Secret Police of the Luftwaffe, collaborating French gendarmes and others bore down to catch, torture and eliminate all who participated, to demonstrate that such defiance would not be tolerated. Dozens of underground organizations were formed during WWII to aid airmen. Two, the Pat O’Leary Line and Comète are recognized as being the most successful against the Germans. But of the two, only Comète, the underground conceived by twenty-four-year-old Andrée (Dédée) de Jongh, would survive the war. August 19, 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of that first fateful night when Dédée struck her first blow against her country’s conquerors.
That’s why I chose August 19, 2021 as the date publish to my novel Night and Fog about the Comète underground. Look for it on Amazon.