Andrée de Jongh: Made A Countess For Her War-Time Heroism

December 8, 2014

Andrée de Jongh ("Dédée" or the "Little Cyclone"), a 24-year old Belgian woman who established the Comet Line.

Andrée de Jongh (“Dédée” or the “Little Cyclone”), who established the Comet Line.

Again and again she risked her life to save British and American servicemen escape from Nazi-occupied Belgium and France.

The daughter of a Belgian schoolmaster, Andrée de Jongh greatly admired Edith Cavell—a Red Cross nurse who was killed by the Germans during World War I for helping British soldiers escape—and was determined to emulate her heroic example. Thus, while working as a nurse in a Belgian hospital during World War II, Andrée put in motion her Resistance brainchild. She created the Comet Escape Line, a secret network of people who risked their lives to help Allied servicemen find their way back to their own ranks safely.

Pictured here with her father.

Pictured here with her father.

Their lines of escape eventually crossed the Pyrenees and into Spain. Andrée personally led 33 trips on foot over the mountains with Allied military. All total, her Comet Line was responsible for the safe return home of 800 Allied servicemen.

Andree with Jack Newton, one of the pilots she led to safety.

Andree with Jack Newton, one of the pilots she led to safety.

But eventually a modern-day Judas betrayed her. She was apprehended, interrogated by the Gestapo, served prison time in Bayonne and Fresnes, was then sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp, and lastly Mauthausen. She survived this frightful ordeal, but her father was not so fortunate. He was one of Andrées helpers on the Comet Line. He too was betrayed. He was caught and executed in June 1943.

Comete Dedee

On April 22nd, 1945, the war came to an end for her when she was liberated from Mauthausen concentration camp. But it would seem that her heroic wartime experience had opened horizons of sacrifice in her soul. The security, comfort and mediocrity of bourgeois life in the ‘50s had no appeal to her and she yearned for something different. She left Europe behind and went to labor as a nurse among lepers in the Belgian Congo. Later, she did the same in Ethiopia.

Countess Andrée de Jongh with a clock presented to her by the RAF.

Countess Andrée de Jongh with a clock presented to her by the RAF.

In 1985, she was ennobled by the King of the Belgians, and became a countess.

She was 90 years old when she died on October 13, 2007, the 90th anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady in Fatima, and Miracle of the Sun.

 

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 444

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