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However, the perseverance they showed in the face of adversity, admirable though it was, is secondary to that of the French helpers who risked all that was most precious to them in order to give the evaders their freedom. The helpers gambled their homes—even the lives of their families—to help the airmen escape, and many of them lost. Realizing all of their efforts to rescue the airmen, it is not difficult to understand that over fifty years later tributes are still paid to the World War II helpers, and enormous gratitude still remains with each of the airmen saved by these heroic people.

In defending her actions, she told them, “I am an aviator’s wife. ”22 Though whole families were usually drawn into aiding evaders, individuals sometimes kept their activities secret for various reasons. Teenagers often feared their parents would stop them if their activities were known and so kept quiet about them. 23 In some instances, however, divisions of loyalty created the necessity for secrecy within families about escape work. This situation was complicated when the division occurred between generations that shared My Brother’s Keeper 49 Former evader Paul Clark with his wife Bettye at their home in 1998.

In April 1941, Zoe Evans and two other women were convoying twenty-one British airmen to Paris. They It Was Raining Aviators 41 and the men had hidden in a cargo car, but just before the train left, a German sentry noticed smoke coming from the car and called for a search. An airman had lit a cigarette, and the smoke had called attention to their presence, resulting in the entire group being arrested. 72 Another failure to follow his helper’s instructions led to the arrest of Robert McGee (USAAF), who had false papers stating that he was a farmer but who refused to dirty his hands to go along with his feigned occupation.

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