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Thursday
Apr292010

Welcome the Stranger

Slowly, in small bands, the escaped prisoners approached the village, looking for food, shelter and clothes that would help them hide their identity. Farmers hid them in their barns, their sheds, and in isolated spots like Isaac's Mill. Housewives searched attics for old coats, hats and sweaters, and poured up the contents of their soup pots to take to the men. At sundown, farmers or their wives would slip out of their houses and carry the food and clothing to the escapees. But they all knew they could not stay hidden from the occupiers forever.

A plan to get them out of Etobon, out of France and into safety had to be devised. Jules Perret and others who were hiding the men sought counsel from Pastor Marlier, their spiritual and ethical leader. Together, they came up with a plan to take the men through the woods in small groups and deliver them to the resistance in Chagey, the village on the other side of the forest. From there, they would be passed from village to village until they reached the Swiss frontier near Delle and Beaucourt. But the plan was risky: how could they keep the POWs from being recognized?

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