News from the Camps

Slowly over months news of the fate of those missing filtered through, even at the start of 1946 people still hoped that their love ones would return. The actual date and place of death for some, will never be known.

Emile Louis TOUSSAINT the artist and adventurer who was in Finland in 1940 during the Russo-Finnish war, a copy of a letter in the files confirmed his death whilst in detention. Emile was the son of Henri Joseph TOUSSAINT and Bertha Maria Elisa DOHLEN of the Rue Royale 104 in Brussels. He died in Sonnenburg (Germany) most likely at the beginning of June 1944. He was an American citizen but after the war was posthumously awarded the Croix de Chevalier de l'Ordre de Léopold II with palm and Croix de Guerre with palm and Resistance Medal. His name is recorded on the Ixelles War Memorial in Brussels, see dedicated page.

Alice Marie De WERGIFOSSE known as Marie-Alix de Wergifosse (Pictured Left) who ran the Le Sanglier restaurant was acquitted by the Essen court but immediately re-imprisoned she died in Ravensbruck concentration camp prisoner no.25126 on the 22/2/1944 or 31/3/1944.

Francois (Frans) STRENS aged 44. The funeral director whose wife and son had gone to England before the war started. Died in Sonnenburg prison in March or April 1944. After the war Francois Strens was posthumously awarded the Croix de Chevalier de l'Ordre de Léopold II with palm and Croix de Guerre 1940 with palm.

Jean-Francois VANDENHOVE The man who hid probably about fifty soldiers and airmen in his Brussels tobacconist shop from 1940 until his arrest in October 1941. After the Essen trial Vandenhove was badly treated, cruelly tortured so that he had to be carried by his fellow prisoners and only survived until the 4th August 1943. A letter dated 7/10/1945 to Richard Copley from a cousin living in London describes his fate.

Dear Sir
You may wonder who is writing to you because this letter comes from someone whom you do not know, so in order to make it understandable I will explain.
My aunt Madame Francais Vandenhove has sent me your address, and asked me if I would kindly write to you and inform you that my cousin Jean Vandenhove whom I think you met in Brussels during the German Occupation is dead. She tells me that she thinks you came to our house 66 Rue Washington Brussels in a short time with another officer Flight Lt. Roy B. Langlois and that you stayed a short time only.
Of course I do not know as I left home in June 1940 and was sent to Internment camp in Germany. It is not possible for me to write all the details which led up to his death but I might add, that he was sentenced to eight years hard labour at Cassel in Germany and he only lived six weeks . He is buried at Cassel.
My only object in writing is to say that as an Englishman I feel quite sure that you would be interested to know the fate of one who although he was not English sacrificed all for our country even his life . I hope you are well and safe with those whom you love.
If you ever come to London I would be more than pleased to see you. Believe me.
yours faithfully
Joseph Slack
After the war Jean Vandenhove was posthumously awarded the Croix de Chevalier de l'Ordre de Léopold II with palm and Croix de Guerre 1940 with palm. His name is recorded on the Ixelles War Memorial in Brussels, see dedicated page. After the war his body was exhumed and brought home from Germany he is buried in the Pelouse d'honneur in Ixelles Cemetary

Jean Vandenhove's grave in Ixelles Cemetary.

Florence DUCHENE was taken to Ravensbruck after the Essen court case in 1943, she died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945 at the age of 38. Her name is recorded on the Ixelles War Memorial in Brussels, see dedicated page. Her mother Jeannie DUCHENE was released from St.Gilles prison on the 5th June 1942 after 9½ months. Her husband had died in November 1941 while she was imprisonned. She was awarded the King's Medal for Courage at the end of the war. See New York Times article in index.

Antoinette Veronique BURY despite being acquitted by the Essen court died at Ravensbruck prisoner no. 25101 on 17/12/1943 aged 56 years.

Dr Paul George Marie JANSSENS In the letter (see previous chapter) written in July 1945 to Alfred Jones from a friend (Edgard PERBEL editor of "La Libre Belgique) in Brussels he is said to have died in captivity.

Dr Jacques PENS in the same letter Dr Pens is also shown as having died in captivity.

Baron Jacques DONNY ( who was the main financier of the evasion line) was arrested by the Germans in 1943. He was executed by firing squad at Degerloch near Stuttgart on Tuesday 29th February 1944 age 59.

Georges GUILLON,the director of a carpet company who was involved in Beaver Baton died in Mauthausen on the 22 April 1945 age 54 years. His name is recorded on the Ixelles War Memorial in Brussels, see dedicated page.
Professor Jean-Marie Eugene DERSCHEID was taken to Germany on the 29th January 1942. Imprisoned in Aachen, Essen, Bochum, Esterwegen-Papenburg from March to October 1943. In Brandenburg November 1943, and then in Berlin in January 1944 where he was condemmed to death and then back to Brandenburg in mid-March 1944. A Japanese colleague in the scientific world, ornithologist Hatchi-Suka had used his influence with Emperor Hirohito to persuade the Germans to spare Derschied but Himmler had ordered the execution of political prisoners. He was executed in Brandenburg by beheading on the 13th March 1944. An urn containing his ashes was found by Russian liberators at the end of the war and taken to the family vault at Sterrebeek.
Dr. Derscheid was a world leader fundraising and advocating for wildlife conservation in the 1920s and 1930s. After exploring and conducting the first census of Mountain Gorillas at the Congo/Rwanda border in 1926 , he returned to Belgium and successfully lobbied for the creation of the first national park in Africa (Congo's Parc National Albert, which he later directed).

Elise AUSSELOOS-GILLARD, Marie Germaine DARMONT-COLLET and her son Jean DARMONT returned to Brussels from Germany after the war.Clara Marie STRENS (Pictured left) also returned but died of cancer not long after she was released.

Paul LURQUIN Belgian lawyer and St.Gilles prisoner after the liberation wrote to the Jones family telling them of Alfred's experiences became a Major in the Belgian Military Government his job was to sort out all the evidence against Belgians who were said to have helped the Germans.

The D'HAESELEER family were not betrayed and managed to avoid arrest. After the war Elsa wrote fondly of Alfred and tried to find out what had happened to him.

Of those who helped Copley, Newton and Langlois.

Doctor GILLES was shot, Police Commissioner Louis-J. RADEMECKER was arrested 16/12/1942 and shot in Liege on the 14/3/1943 . Eugene VANDEWEERDT, Fernand CARLIER and Rene DEBAITS were all caught and died in captivity.
Armand LOVENFOSSE the Liege policeman who helped Richard Copley was a founder of the resistance group Beaver-Baton and was a local chief of the Mouvement National Belge. He was arrested by the Gestapo on the 25th October 1943 and interrogated at Saint Leonard Prison and Liege Citadel.
He was then taken to the concentration camp at VUGHT in the Netherlands and then to SACHSENHAUSEN near Berlin. At the end of 1944 he was taken to RATHENOW a part of SACHSENHAUSEN. The camp was evacuated on April 20/21 1945 and the 33000 prisoners began a "March of Death". Thousands of inmates died during this Death March. They were killed by shooting because they were too weak to walk. On the 22nd April 1945 the camp was liberated by the 47th Soviet Army. Armand Lovenfosse returned to Belgium on the 3rd June 1945.
After the war he rose in rank to become a Police Superintendent in the Liege force, retiring on the 1st February 1972. He died age 62 after a long illness on the 24th August 1974.

Police Commissioner RADEMECKER

Armand Lovenfosse

Charles Morelle aged 30 years` died on the 18th May 1945 after imprisonment in Dachau.

Charlie Morelle (drawn by Robert
Roberts-Jones in St.Gilles Prison.)

Andree (Dedee) De JONGH, Petit Cyclone, the courageous Belgian girl who created the escape network for Allied servicemen in World War II from Brussels to Bilbao (the Comet Line - over 800 escaped to England using it). She was eventually captured in January 1943, managed to survive Ravensbruck and Mauthausen concentration camps and after the war was awarded the British George Medal. She was made a countess by Belgium's King Baudouin. She went to Africa to nurse lepers and stayed 28 years.

Jack Newton greets Andree De Jongh, the resistance heroine who saved him,
at her Brussels home 22nd October 2000 and, right, their reunion shortly after the war. Photo The Times
Andree De Jongh died on the 13th October 2007 in the University Clinic Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Brussels. Her funeral service was held at the Abbaye de la Cambre, Ixelles Brussels on the 19th October 2007 and she was buried in the grave of her father and mother at the Schaerbeek cemetery at Evere the same day.

Andree De Jongh's grave in Schaerbeek cemetery at Evere in October 2007.

Elvire De Greef ("Tante Go") was also awarded the British George Medal after the war. She died in Brussels on the 3rd September 1991 aged 94.

"Madame Jeanie" Jeanne Wolf-Pot who helped the Scottish soldiers in Brussels was awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom with Bronze Palm. While she helped the Scottish soldiers other helpers were being arrested in the neighbourhood. She had arranged with a man who came to visit the evaders to have a certain signal given with the doorbell. Due to an error in this code, she mistakengly thought that the Gestapo was at the door and as a result of the nervous shock incurred she became blind, being only able to distinguish light from darkness. In spite of this tragedy, which deprived her of her chief means of support, she still gave shelter to one evader in 1943 and 1944 to a further 6 evaders. She died on the 13th June 1960 and is buried in the Pelouse d'honneur in Ixelles Cemetary

Jeannie Wolf-Pot's grave in Ixelles cemetary.

Victor Adonis RANDOUR was born in Quaregnon in Cuesmes in 1897. Louisa Deloge must have known Victor since at least 1940 and he was involved in the hiding of the Scottish soldiers in Brussels. He was never arrested and later in the war was involved in hiding RAF and US aircrew in Brussels in 1943 and 1944. He worked for the industrialist Baron Evence Copee and seems to have had access to a car and petrol. Amongst his fellow helpers were Auguste Ocket, Yvonne Lefebre, Jules Roba and Fernand Fishbach. He lists the following airmen he helped Arthur Rae, Philip Tweedy, John Dix (Comete Line evader 178), John Harkins (Comete Line evader 219), Jim Rainsford (Comete Line evader 178), George Bonitz (US), Louis Abromowitz (US) , Roy C. Martin (US) and A. Dumbrell. He may have indirectly helped many more by supplying money, food, cigarettes etc. Philip Tweedy writes in 2004 " I am sure that he is the man who was the main organiser of evaders in Brussels in 1944." After the war Victor was the secretary of the association of the resistance group "The Affranchis" and held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. In the 1970's he married Louisa Deloge but soon after he became ill and died two years after the marriage.

Approximately 17,000 Belgians involved in resistance against the invader were killed in action, executed or died in the camps.
Tomb of the Unknown Political Prisoner in Brussels

This picture appears courtesy of: David Conway

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© John Clinch 2002