Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Traveling Tuesday: The Risoux Forest

Photo courtesy of
Traveling Tuesday: The Risoux Forest

With over 2,200 continue hectares (nearly 5,500 acres or 22 square km), the Risoux forest is the largest forest in Europe. Forming a natural border between France and Switzerland, the forest lines the edge of the Vallée de Joux in the Jura Mountains. The Vallée is well-known for its watch and cheese making, but during WWII, the area became one of many routes used by fugitives from France into Switzerland. The border is a dry stone wall with Fleur-de-Lis decorating it and stands approximately three feet tall making escape somewhat easy as long as German troops were avoided.

A group of French and Swiss friends became known as the Passeurs du Risoud and helped countless
Photo courtesy of 
downed pilots, those in danger of deportation, and escaped prisoners make it over the border. In addition to smuggling humans, the group passed confidential documents about troop numbers and movements to the British Embassy in Lausanne as well as armaments.

To make it more difficult for the Nazis to track them, the Passeurs formed multiple routes through the forest, many of which are still apparent. Soldiers patrolled the French side of the forest twenty-four hours a day, and anyone found within the two-kilometer forbidden zone was shot on sight.

Courtesy of 
After arriving in Switzerland, the group would hide in one of the two wooden huts (L’Hôtel d’Italie and Le Rendezvous des Sages) to rest. Then the Passeurs would go home under cover of darkness, and the escapees would continue the ten-kilometer journey from the border to the place where they registered as illegal foreigners, then to an internment camp for the remainder of the war. Many downed military personnel did not register and continued their escape to Allied soil.


Spies & Sweethearts

She wants to do her part. He’s just trying to stay out of the stockade. Will two agents deep behind enemy lines find capture… or love?

1942. Emily Strealer is tired of being told what she can’t do. Wanting to prove herself to her older sisters and do her part for the war effort, the high school French teacher joins the OSS and trains to become a covert operative. And when she completes her training, she finds herself parachuting into occupied France with her instructor to send radio signals to the Resistance.

Major Gerard Lucas has always been a rogue. Transferring to the so-called “Office of Dirty Tricks” to escape a court-martial, he poses as a husband to one of his trainees on a dangerous secret mission. But when their cover is blown after only three weeks, he has to flee with the young schoolteacher to avoid Nazi arrest.

Running for their lives, Emily clings to her mentor’s military experience during the harrowing three-hundred-mile trek to neutral Switzerland. And while Gerard can’t bear the thought of his partner falling into German hands, their forged papers might not be enough to get them over the border.

No comments:

Post a Comment