Andrée de Jongh

Countess Andrée Eugénie Adrienne de Jongh GM (30 November 1916 – 13 October 2007) was a member of the Belgian Resistance during the Second World War. She organised the Comet line (Le Réseau Comète) for escaped Allied soldiers and airmen. After the war, she worked in leper hospitals in Africa.

Andrée de Jongh
Civilian Bravery Awards during the Second World War HU55451
Andrée de Jongh after visiting Buckingham Palace to receive the George Medal in February 1946
Andrée Eugénie Adrienne de Jongh

November 30, 1916
Schaerbeek, Belgium
DiedOctober 13, 2007 (aged 90)
Brussels, Belgium
Years active1941–1945
AgentComet Line
Known forBelgian Resistance
TitleHonorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Belgian Army.
Parent(s)Frédéric De Jongh and Alice Decarpentrie

Early life

Andrée de Jongh (nicknamed "Dédée") was born in Schaerbeek in Belgium, then under German occupation during the First World War. She was the younger daughter of Frédéric De Jongh, a headmaster and Alice Decarpentrie. Edith Cavell, a British nurse shot in the Tir national in Schaerbeek in 1915 for assisting troops to escape from occupied Belgium to the neutral Netherlands, was a heroine in her youth.

She trained as a nurse and became a commercial artist in Malmédy. She was only twenty-five when the Nazis invaded Belgium. Her nursing endeavours were inspired by Cavell.[1]

Second World War

Schaerbeek - Avenue Émile Verhaeren n°73 - Maison De Jongh (1)
De Jongh's house in Schaarbeek

After German troops invaded Belgium in May 1940, De Jongh moved to Brussels, where she became a Red Cross volunteer, ministering to captured Allied troops. In Brussels at that time, hiding in safe houses, were many British soldiers, those left behind at Dunkirk and escapees from those captured at Saint-Valery-en-Caux. De Jongh organized a series of safe houses for these soldiers, while also procuring civilian clothes so they would not be identified as well as false ID papers.[1] Visiting the sick and wounded soldiers enabled her to make links with this network of safe-house keepers who were trying to work out ways to get the soldiers back to Britain.

In the summer of 1941, with the help of her father, she set up an escape network for captured Allied soldiers, which became later known as the Comet Line. Working with Arnold Deppé and Elvire De Greef-Berlemont in the south of France, they established links with the safe houses in Brussels, then a route was found, using trains, through occupied and Vichy France to the border with Spain. The final line was 1,200 miles in total.[2] The first escape attempt was unsuccessful, and all of the escapees were captured by the Spanish, with only two out of eleven reaching England, so De Jongh decided to lead the second attempt, a group of three men, personally.

In August 1941 Andrée de Jongh appeared in the British consulate in Bilbao with a British soldier (James Cromar from Aberdeen) and two Belgian volunteers (Merchiers and Sterckmans), having travelled by train from Paris to Bayonne and then on foot over the Pyrenees through the Basque Country.[3] She requested British support for her escape network which was granted by MI9 (British Military Intelligence Section 9), under the control of Major Norman Crockatt and Lieutenant James Langley. Langley had been repatriated after losing his left arm in the rearguard defence of Dunkirk in 1940.

Working with MI9 de Jongh helped 400 Allied soldiers escape from Belgium through occupied France to Spain and Gibraltar. Airey Neave described her as "one of our greatest agents."[4] Later Neave organised gunboats from Dartmouth to run agents and supplies across the Channel to the French resistance in Brittany and return with escaped POWs and evaders.

Comet Line members and their families took great risks. De Jongh made more than 30 double crossings over the Pyrenees herself and escorted 118 evaders, including more than 80 aircrew.[5] After November 1942 the escape lines became more dangerous, after southern France was occupied by the Germans and the whole of France came under direct Nazi rule. Many members of the Comet line were betrayed; hundreds were arrested by the Geheime Feldpolizei and the Abwehr and were executed or deported to German prisons and concentration camps.[6] De Jongh was captured at a farmhouse in Urrugne, in the French Basque country, on 15 January 1943 – the last stop on the escape line before the passage over the Pyrenees – during her 33rd journey to Spain. She was sent first to Fresnes prison in Paris and eventually to Ravensbrück concentration camp and Mauthausen.[7] Even in de Jongh's absence, the Comet Line helped about 700 Allied soldiers reach safety. Although she survived, she had become gravely ill and undernourished by the time she was released by the Allied advance in April 1945. Many of her colleagues died in captivity. Her father Frédéric de Jongh was arrested in Paris on 7 June 1943 and executed on 28 March 1944.[8]

Later life

After the war, she moved first to the Belgian Congo, then to Cameroon, next to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, working in leper hospitals and finally to Senegal. In failing health, she eventually retired to Brussels.[8]

For her wartime efforts, she was awarded the United States Medal of Freedom, the British George Medal, and became a Chevalier of the French Légion d'honneur. She also became a Chevalier of the Order of Leopold, received the Belgian Croix de Guerre/Oorlogskruis with palm, and was granted the honorary rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Belgian Army. In 1985, she was made a countess in the Belgian nobility by King Baudouin.

In Spring of 1959, while working at a leper colony in Coquilhatville, she met with English novelist Graham Greene. Greene recorded her candid account of her war experiences in his journal which was published in 1961. In In Search of a Character: Two African Journals, Greene wrote that he asked her why she had come to the Congo. She replied, "Because from the age of fifteen I wanted to cure lepers. If I had delayed any longer it would have been too late."


The Countess de Jongh died on 13 October 2007, aged 90, at the University Clinic, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert/Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe, Brussels.[9][10] Her funeral service was held at the La Cambre Abbey, Ixelles, Brussels, and she was interred in the crypt of her parents at the Schaarbeek Cemetery.

See also

The Nightingale (2015) a historical fiction novel, written by Kristin Hannah.

The Postwoman (2018) an historical fiction novel based on the true story of Andrée de Jongh's life, written by Michael Kenneth Smith.


  1. ^ a b Atwood 2011, p. 131.
  2. ^ Atwood 2011, p. 130.
  3. ^ Atwood 2011, p. 132.
  4. ^ Nichol & Rennell 2007.
  5. ^ Atwood 2011, p. 133.
  6. ^ Terrance 1999.
  7. ^ Atwood 2011, pp. 133–134.
  8. ^ a b Atwood 2011, p. 134.
  9. ^ "Andree de Jongh". The Times. 15 October 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008.
  10. ^ Martin, Douglas (18 October 2007). "Andrée De Jongh, 90, Legend of Belgian Resistance, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 June 2008.


  • Atwood, Kathryn J. (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 9781556529610.
  • Nichol, John; Rennell, Tony (2007). Home Run: Escape from Nazi Europe. Penguin. ISBN 9780670916030.
  • Terrance, Mark (1999). Concentration Camps: A Traveler's Guide to World War II Sites. Universal. ISBN 9781581128390.

Further reading

  • Jouan, Cécile (1948). Comète. Histoire d'une ligne d'évasion. Veurne: Editions de Beffroi.
  • Neave, Airey (1954). Little Cyclone. ISBN 9780340174067.
  • Neave, Airey (1965). Petit Cyclone. Brussels.
  • Remy (1666). Réseau Comète. 1. Paris.
  • Remy (1967). Réseau Comète: 15 janvier 1943 - 18 janvier 1944. 2. Paris.
  • Remy (1971). Réseau Comète: du 18 janvier 1944 au printemps de la même année. 2. Paris.
  • Armstrong, W. E. (1974). Une héroïne de la Résistance Belge. Sélection du Reader's Digest.
  • van Vyve, Françoise (1986). Une Belge contre la Gestapo. Brussels.
  • Nothomb, Jean-François (1984). "Le réseau d'évasion Comète". Bulletin de l'ANRB.
  • Jimenez de Aberastural Corta, Juan Carlos (1995). En passant la Bidassoa. Le réseau 'Comète' au Pays basque (1941–1944). Anglet.
  • Verhoeyen, Etienne (1997). "La ligne d'évasion Comète (août 1941 - février 1943)". Jours de guerre. Brussels (11, 12, 13).
  • Eisner, Peter (2013). The Freedom Line: The Brave Men and Women Who Rescued Allied Airmen from the Nazis During World War II. Harper Collins. ISBN 9780062295552.
  • Dupont-Bouchat, Marie-Sylvie (2006). "de Jongh (Dédée)". In Gubin, Eliane. Dictionnaire des femmes belges XIX et XX siècles. Brussells: Éditions Racine.
  • Metdepenningen, Marc (20 October 2007). "Dédée a rejoint les étoiles" [Dedée has joined the stars]. Le Soir. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  • "Andrée de Jongh". The Daily Telegraph. 18 October 2007.
  • "Countess Andrée de Jongh". The Guardian. 22 October 2007.
  • Perrault, Gilles (2014). "De Jongh (Andrée)". Dictionnaire amoureux de la Résistance. Paris: Fayard. pp. 156–160.
  • MacDermott, Alasdair (2015). "Comète, a World War II Belgian Evasion Line". In Coekelbergs, Roger; et al. Livre-mémorial Agents de Renseignement et d'Action [Memorial volume of Intelligence and Action Agents]. Antwerp.
  • Udekem D'Acoz, Marie-Pierre D' (2016). Andrée De Jongh. Une vie de résistante. Brussells: Racine. ISBN 9782873869786.


  • The Last Passage, Lurre Telleria et Enara Goikoetxea, Moztu filmak & Amo films, 2010

External links

2007 in Belgium

Events from the year 2007 in Belgium

Angus MacLean

John Angus MacLean, (May 15, 1914 – February 15, 2000) was a politician and farmer in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

He was an alumnus of both Mount Allison University and the University of British Columbia with degrees in science. MacLean left farming to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, serving from 1939–1947 and achieving the rank of Wing Commander.

MacLean's bomber was shot down, and he evaded capture in Nazi-occupied Europe with the help of the Belgian escape-line Comète with Andrée De Jongh.

MacLean returned to Prince Edward Island after the war, and ran for a seat in the House of Commons of Canada as a Progressive Conservative Party of Canada candidate, but was defeated in the 1945 and 1949 federal elections.

He was first elected to Parliament in a 1951 by-election and held his seat continuously until he left federal politics in 1976. MacLean served in the cabinet of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker as Minister of Fisheries from 1957 until the government's defeat in the 1963 election.

In 1976, MacLean was persuaded to leave federal politics and take the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island which had languished in opposition for a decade. On 8 November 1976, MacLean was elected to the provincial legislature in a by-election. MacLean led the party to victory in 1979, and formed a government that emphasized rural community life, banned new shopping malls and instituted a Royal Commission to examine land use and sprawl. His government cancelled the province's participation in the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station in New Brunswick.

On 17 August 1981, MacLean announced his intention to resign as premier upon the election of a new party leader. MacLean retired as premier on 17 November 1981, when James Lee was sworn-in as his successor and did not run in the 1982 provincial election. He returned to the family farm that he redeveloped for low-intensity blueberry farming. A respected steward of the land and of rural communities, MacLean was a committed Presbyterian of Scottish descent. In 1991, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

He died in Charlottetown on February 15, 2000.

Belgian Resistance

The Belgian Resistance (French: Résistance belge, Dutch: Belgisch verzet) collectively refers to the resistance movements opposed to the German occupation of Belgium during World War II. Within Belgium, resistance was fragmented between a large number of separate organizations, divided by region and political stances. The resistance included both men and women from both Walloon and Flemish parts of the country. Aside from sabotage of military infrastructure in the country and assassinations of collaborators, these groups also published large numbers of underground newspapers, gathered intelligence and maintained various escape networks that helped Allied airmen trapped behind enemy lines escape from German-occupied Europe.

During the war, it is estimated that approximately five percent of the national population were involved in some form of resistance activity, while some estimates put the number of resistance members killed at over 19,000; roughly 25 percent of its "active" members.

Comet line

The Comet line (French: Réseau Comète) was a resistance group in Belgium and France that helped Allied soldiers and airmen return to Britain during the Second World War. The line started in Brussels where the men were fed, clothed and given false identity papers, before being hidden in attics or cellars. A network of people then guided them south through occupied France into neutral Spain and home via British-controlled Gibraltar.

De Jongh

De Jongh is a Dutch surname meaning "junior". It is a variation of the more common form "de Jong" or "de Jonge". Among people with the surname "de Jongh", "de Iongh" or "de Jonghe" are:

Adri de Jongh (born 1970), South African sprinter

Andrée de Jongh (1916-2007), Belgian World War II resistance fighter

Claude de Jongh (1605-1663), Dutch landscape painter

Dick de Jongh (born 1939), Dutch logician

Emily de Jongh-Elhage (born 1946), Netherlands Antilles politician

Gabriel de Jongh (1913-2004), Dutch-born South African painter

Gré de Jongh (1924–2002), Dutch sprinter

Hendrik Pieter de Jongh (born 1970), Dutch football manager

Igone de Jongh (born 1979), Dutch ballet dancer

John de Jongh Jr. (born 1957), American territorial administrator

Juan de Jongh (born 1988), South African rugby player

Jules de Jongh, American voice actress

Lilly de Jongh Osborne (1883–1975), Costa Rican writer and art collector

Ludolf Leendertsz de Jongh (1616-1679), Dutch genre and portrait painter

Mandy de Jongh (born 1961), Dutch taekwondo practitioner

Michelle De Jongh (born 1997), Swedish footballer

Nicholas de Jongh (born 1944), British theater critic and playwright

Steven de Jongh (born 1973), Dutch bicycle racer

Theunis Willem de Jongh (1913–1999/2000), South African bank governor

Tinus de Jongh (1885-1942), Dutch-born South African painterDe IonghCarel de Iongh (1883-1964), Dutch soldier and sports shooter, brother of Hendrik

Hendrik de Iongh (1877-1962), Dutch soldier and fencer, brother of CarelDe Jonghe / DejongheAdriaen de Jonghe (1511–1575), Dutch Renaissance humanist

Albert Dejonghe (1894–1981), Belgian racing cyclist

Gustave Léonard de Jonghe (1829–1893), Belgian portrait and genre painter

Jan Baptiste de Jonghe (1785-1844), Belgian landscape painter

Jimmy De Jonghe (born 1992), Belgian footballer

Kevin De Jonghe (born 1991), Belgian racing cyclist

Deaths in October 2007

The following is a list of notable deaths in October 2007.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent country of citizenship (if applicable), reason for notability, cause of death (if known), and reference.


Dedee or Dédée is a nickname which may refer to:

Andrée de Jongh (1916–2007), member of the World War II Belgian Resistance, nicknamed "Dédée"

DeDee Nathan (born 1968), American retired heptathlete

Dedee Pfeiffer (born 1964), American actress

Edith Cavell

Edith Louisa Cavell (; 4 December 1865 – 12 October 1915) was a British nurse. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and in helping some 200 Triple Entente soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, for which she was arrested. She was accused of treason, found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

The night before her execution, she said, "Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone." These words were later inscribed on a memorial to her near Trafalgar Square. Her strong Anglican beliefs propelled her to help all those who needed it, both German and Allied soldiers. She was quoted as saying, "I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved." The Church of England commemorates her in its Calendar of Saints on 12 October.

Cavell, who was 49 at the time of her execution, was already notable as a pioneer of modern nursing in Belgium.

Graham Greene

Henry Graham Greene (2 October 1904 – 3 April 1991), better known by his pen name Graham Greene, was an English novelist regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Combining literary acclaim with widespread popularity, Greene acquired a reputation early in his lifetime as a major writer, both of serious Catholic novels, and of thrillers (or "entertainments" as he termed them). He was shortlisted, in 1966 and 1967, for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Through 67 years of writings, which included over 25 novels, he explored the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world, often through a Catholic perspective.

Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a Roman Catholic novelist, rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic novels: Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair; which have been named "the gold standard" of the Catholic novel. Several works, such as The Confidential Agent, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Human Factor, and his screenplay for The Third Man, also show Greene's avid interest in the workings and intrigues of international politics and espionage.

Greene was born in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire into a large, influential family that included the owners of the Greene King Brewery. He boarded at Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire, where his father taught and became headmaster. Unhappy at the school, he attempted suicide several times. He went up to Balliol College, Oxford, to study history, where, while an undergraduate, he published his first work in 1925—a poorly received volume of poetry, Babbling April. After graduating, Greene worked first as a private tutor and then as a journalist – first on the Nottingham Journal and then as a sub-editor on The Times. He converted to Catholicism in 1926 after meeting his future wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning. Later in life he took to calling himself a "Catholic agnostic". He published his first novel, The Man Within, in 1929; its favourable reception enabled him to work full-time as a novelist. He supplemented his novelist's income with freelance journalism, and book and film reviews. His 1937 film review of Wee Willie Winkie (for the British journal Night and Day), commented on the sexuality of the nine-year-old star, Shirley Temple. This provoked Twentieth Century Fox to sue, prompting Greene to live in Mexico until after the trial was over. While in Mexico, Greene developed the ideas for The Power and the Glory. Greene originally divided his fiction into two genres (which he described as "entertainments" and "novels"): thrillers—often with notable philosophic edges—such as The Ministry of Fear; and literary works—on which he thought his literary reputation would rest—such as The Power and the Glory.

Greene had a history of depression, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life. In a letter to his wife, Vivien, he told her that he had "a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life," and that "unfortunately, the disease is also one's material." William Golding praised Greene as "the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety." He died in 1991, at age 86, of leukemia, and was buried in Corseaux cemetery.

List of recipients of the George Medal, 1940s

The George Medal is awarded by the United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations for acts of great bravery; over 2,000 medals have been awarded since its inception in September 1940. Below is set out a selection of recipients of the award, in the 1940s. A person's presence in this list does not suggest their award was more notable than any other award of the George Medal.

Where a recipient has received a second GM, a picture of the ribbon bearing the bar symbol is shown.

Marie-Pierre Verhaegen

Jonkvrouw Marie-Pierre Brigitte Olivier Corneille Verhaegen, countess Bernard d'Udekem d'Acoz, born 20 April 1966 is a Belgian historian.

Nacht und Nebel

Nacht und Nebel ([ˈnaχt ʊnt ˈneːbəl]) was a directive issued by Adolf Hitler on 7 December 1941 targeting political activists and resistance "helpers" in World War II to be imprisoned or killed, while the family and the population remained uncertain as to the fate or whereabouts of the Nazi state's alleged offender. Victims who disappeared in these "Night and Fog" actions were never heard from again.


Schaerbeek (obsolete Dutch spelling, retained in French, pronounced [skaʁbek] (listen)) or Schaarbeek (Dutch, pronounced [ˈsxaːrbeːk] (listen)) is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. It is bordered by the City of Brussels, Etterbeek, Evere and Saint-Josse-ten-Noode. In common with all the Brussels municipalities, it is legally bilingual (French–Dutch).

The eastern part of Schaerbeek (the area near Vergote Square, Diamant quarter, and Josaphat Park) is nowadays a location selected by affluent people for its architecture and its convenient location (close to the EU institutions and the financial heart of the city, the airport and highways). Young couples are also favouring this suburb for its "Notting Hill" atmosphere and the still reasonable pricing of real estate, while prices are on the surge everywhere else in Brussels.

The western part of Schaerbeek (the area near the Brussels-North railway station, the Chaussée de Haecht/Haachtsesteenweg and the Van Praet bridge) is home to a large Turkish immigrant community, a significant part of which originates from Afyon or Emirdağ, Turkey. It is also home to a large Moroccan population and other immigrant communities such as Spanish, Congolese, and Asian immigrants. The area around St. Mary's Royal Church is the part where the Turkish community gathers in Brussels, which has led the area to be dubbed "Petite Anatolie" because of all the Turkish restaurants and shops at the Chaussée de Haecht/Haachtsesteenweg. However, because of the numerous schools like the Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussel, the administrations and the proximity of the Rue Royale there is a social mix. There are also several affluent streets and neighbourhoods in this area including the Quartier des Fleurs/Bloemenwijk, Boulevard Lambermontlaan, Place General Meiserplein, Squares Huart-Hamoir and Square Francois Riga and Avenue Eugene Demolderlaan).

The Schaerbeek Cemetery, despite its name, is actually in the neighbouring municipality of Evere.

Schaerbeek Cemetery

Schaerbeek Cemetery, (French: Nouveau Cimetière de Schaerbeek, Dutch: Nieuw kerkhof van Schaarbeek), is a cemetery belonging to the municipality of Schaerbeek (Brussels) and where the inhabitants of Schaerbeek have the right to be buried. It is not located in Schaerbeek itself; rather it is partially in the neighbouring municipality of Evere, and partially in the village of Sint-Stevens-Woluwe in the municipality of Zaventem in Flemish Brabant. The cemetery is adjacent to Brussels Cemetery but should not be confused with it.

Schaerbeek Cemetery is surrounded by avenue Jules Bordet, rue d'Evere and Kleine Eversweg. The entry is in Evere on avenue Jules Bordet.

Immediately to the west of the cemetery, and separated from it by a walkway, is the cemetery of the municipality of Evere.

The Nightingale (2015 novel)

The Nightingale is a historical fiction novel, written by Kristin Hannah and published in 2015. It tells the story of two sisters in France during World War II, and their struggle to survive and resist the German occupation of France. It was inspired by the story of a Belgian woman, Andrée de Jongh, who helped downed Allied pilots to escape Nazi territory. The book sold well, earning places on several bestseller lists, and was optioned for a screen adaptation by TriStar Pictures in March 2015.

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