Remember the “rabbit hole” I talked about in a recent blog post (Curious GeorgeFlees the Nazis)? Well, I went down the rabbit hole for a week and popped back up with the relatively forgotten story of The Sussex Plan and its one hundred twenty brave agents. What initially grabbed my attention was the address in Paris of an established safe house used to shelter more than forty agents. It will be a stop in my new book.
The story and memory of The Sussex Plan and its agents are kept alive by Dominique Soulier and the MM Park France Museum (twelve miles north of Strasbourg France). M. Soulier is the son of Georges Soulier, a former Sussex Plan agent.
SOE and Resistance Efforts
By mid-1943 the Nazis had successfully infiltrated and crippled the efforts of the British run Special Operations Executive (SOE) organization (blog post: Women Agents of theSOE). The same could be said for some of the larger French resistance networks when their leaders were arrested, interrogated, and tortured. If these men and women survived the torture, they were either killed by the Gestapo, committed suicide, or deported under the Nacht und Nebel decree (blog post: Night and Fog).
About this time, General Eisenhower and Prime Minister Churchill had agreed upon an invasion of Europe for some time in 1944. To plan properly for the invasion, Eisenhower needed information on German troop movements and other surveillance facts, particularly in northern France. However, the SOE and its agents in France could not be counted on to accomplish what was needed. So British MI6 created a new organization called The Sussex Plan and its mission was to gather information to assist in the planning of D-Day. Read More The Sussex Plan and a Very Brave Woman
Almost sixty years after the end of World War II, the French government formally recognized Rose Valland (1898–1980) for her efforts as a Résistant during the Nazi Occupation of Paris between 1940 and 1944. A plaque was placed on the south wall of the Galerie nationale duJeu de Paume (the Jeu de Paume museum) commemorating Rose’s role in saving precious art stolen by the Germans.
Rose and her boss, Jacques Jaujard (1895–1967), were responsible for ensuring 100% of the Louvre artwork was returned to the museum. Jaujard convinced the Germans to keep their hands off of public or state owned art. Rose was responsible for directing the Americans and British to the various sites in Germany where the Germans had stored the tens of thousands of pieces of artwork stolen from French private collections and other occupied countries.
The Monuments Men
Many of us are familiar with the story of a small group of men who, in the latter stages of World War II, were given the responsibility for identifying cultural works of art, protecting these priceless items from destruction by advancing armies, and tracking down the art stolen by the Nazis. These men were called The Monuments Men.
Stew takes you on a walking tour of buildings, places, and sites significant to the theme of each of his books. But most importantly, you will learn the intricate stories of the people and places that many other tours do not.
Stewart Ross’ book is full of interesting documents and research, it put you well on the tracks of Marie Antoinette, Danton, Robespierre and many more, whether in Paris or in Versailles, extremely interesting and easy to read!
Raphaelle Crevet | Certified Tour Guide, Paris, France
Mr. Ross brings the streets of Paris to life, making it possible for you to stand on the very spots where the grand and tragic events of the French Revolution took place. If you are looking for more than just the typical tourist experience in Paris, then this book is must reading!