HomeVisitMuseum ExhibitsFact SheetsDisplay

The Kindness of Strangers: Escape Routes and the Resistance

DAYTON, Ohio - The "Winged Boot: Escape and Evasion in World War II" exhibit on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - The "Winged Boot: Escape and Evasion in World War II" exhibit on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

This remarkable photograph illustrates the boldness of some helpers. After sheltering them for a week, Mademoiselle Sainson took two American evaders for a walk. When they ran into some Italian soldiers, she asked them to pose for a picture. The soldiers, assuming that the Americans were Frenchmen, willingly obliged. (U.S. Air Force)

This remarkable photograph illustrates the boldness of some helpers. After sheltering them for a week, Mademoiselle Sainson took two American evaders for a walk. When they ran into some Italian soldiers, she asked them to pose for a picture. The soldiers, assuming that the Americans were Frenchmen, willingly obliged. (U.S. Air Force)

Like their western European counterparts, resistance fighters in the Balkans offered assistance to downed Airmen. Pictured here is one of the crewmen, Robert W. Glasby, at the partisan hospital in Zgornji Hrastnik. (U.S. Air Force)

Like their western European counterparts, resistance fighters in the Balkans offered assistance to downed Airmen. Pictured here is one of the crewmen, Robert W. Glasby, at the partisan hospital in Zgornji Hrastnik. (U.S. Air Force)

Like their western European counterparts, resistance fighters in the Balkans offered assistance to downed Airmen. On March 19, 1944, partisan painter Ive Subic and a courier came across two USAAF B-24 crewmen who had been shot down over Slovenia. Subic drew an illustration of the encounter. (U.S. Air Force)

Like their western European counterparts, resistance fighters in the Balkans offered assistance to downed Airmen. On March 19, 1944, partisan painter Ive Subic and a courier came across two USAAF B-24 crewmen who had been shot down over Slovenia. Subic drew an illustration of the encounter. (U.S. Air Force)

Resistance movements in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia worked with Allied intelligence to form escape networks. Countless other Europeans acted independently to help downed airmen. At the risk of death and torture to themselves and to their families from the Gestapo (German secret police), these brave "helpers" fed, clothed and sheltered Allied airmen. Several hundred "helpers" were sent to concentration camps as punishment and paid for their service with their lives.

Click here to return to Winged Boot: Escape and Evasion in World War II.

Featured Links

Plan Your Visit
E-newsletter Sign-up
Explore Museum Exhibits
Browse Photos
Visit Press Room
Become a Volunteer
Air Force Museum Foundation