STORIES
Lifesavers Heroes

Andree de Jongh

by Mitchell Lunt - 9th grade - from Colorado

In January 1943 while guiding fallen airmen and other refuges out of Belgium into neutral Spain, Andree de Jongh was arrested in a safe house in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. Andree was still young when the Germans invaded Belgium in 1940, but she didn't let her age stop her from saving hundreds of lives in World War II. Instead of giving in to Nazi power Andree and many others risked her life to fight against it. 

Adree de Jongh was born in Belgium and became a nurse as a teen. When war broke out, Andree joined the resistance and developed the Comet line. While working for the resistance she developed an escape route out of occupied France and Belgium for falling airmen. This route became known as the comet line and saved hundreds of airmen. Many people tried to take control of the comet line, but Adree knew she could run it best. The allies in England wanted to set up radio communication with Andree, but she refused and ended up being caught in a safe house in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. 

When the Nazis invaded Belgium, her dad burst into tears remembering the first world war. Andree refused to believe it would be that bad but soon realized she was wrong. The more airmen she rescued, the more the Nazis would look for people involved in the comet line. People who found resistance workers and airmen would be paid by the Nazis. This would result in people pretending to help with the comet line reporting to the Germans. On de Jongh’s 33 trips over the Pyrenees in April 1944 a member of the comet line told the names where one of the safe houses were and they were caught. Andree told the Nazis she was in charge of the comet line but they wouldn't believe a small girl like her could do something so challenging. Since she would give any more names, she was sent to Ravensbrook concentration camp for a year until the war was over. When the war was over she moved to the African Congo to be a nurse in a leper colony.

Andree De Jongh helped the British war efforts by saving fallen airmen as well as inspiring generations. Andree started the comet line, which continued to save airmen through the war, rescuing close to 700 airmen in total. During this time in the war, British, American, and Canadian airmen were in short supply, so it was very important to get them back to Britain. It impacted the outcome of the war by assisting airmen in returning to duty continuing their airstrikes against the Germans. The airmen that were rescued were extremely thankful and spoke very highly of De Jongh. Without her work, many more lives could have been lost and the war could have gone on longer or had a different outcome. 

Andree de Jongh’s story made me think about the circumstances she was in to make her feel like she had to do something so big. I also wonder if I could do the same both physically and mentally. I think very few people could do what she did. She knew that she could be killed or tortured if she got caught but continued to risk her life for 3 years. She also had the incredible strength to cross the huge Pyrenees mountains over 30 times. Many of the men Andree encountered doubted her ability to run such a large operation, but she did a much better job than most men could have done. De Jongh didn't only save the lives of hundreds of airmen. She also proved to many people that women are very important in war. Andree was not happy if she wasn’t improving others' lives, so after the war she worked as a nurse in a leper colony in the Congo, then at a hospital in Ethiopia.

In a world where you don’t know who you can trust, making a change can be hard. Many people chose to give in to Nazi power, but some, like Andree de Jongh, fought for what they believed in. Andree’s moral courage saved countless lives and set an example for generations. Andree de Jongh was only content when she was helping others and didn’t need any region to do so. The world would be a much better place if more people acted like her and put others before themselves. Andree was a special kind of person that only makes the world a better place.

Bibliography

  1. Atwood, K. J. (2011). Women heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.

  2. Chen, C. (n.d.). Andrée de Jongh. Retrieved February 19, 2021, from https://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=614

Page created on 3/1/2021 5:02:27 PM

Last edited 3/4/2021 6:12:02 AM

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