Madame Gilberte Braem

Hero Of the French Resistance

Code name : (Francoise)

Titulaire de "La Croix de Guerre" avec

"Etoile de Bronze" - also U.S.A. citations

 

Gilberte Braem began Resistance against the Germans at the very start of the German Occupation in 1940.

Her beginnings were to help stranded British soldiers - to find them and give shelter etc. This alone meant the firing squad if she was found out. Gilberte was also an important link in the escape and evasion network . (MI 9) These routes started in Belgium and terminated for the lucky ones after a hazardous journey across occupied Europe which included a daunting and equally dangerous night crossing of the Pyrenees mountains. Which with luck ended across the Spanish frontier , and onward transport to Gibraltar .

It was a very long trek. They moved only at night in Paris, escorted by two armed resistance fighters. The reason for moving only two at a time was that if captured it would not mean losing too many men.

I ( Bebert) took part in many a dark night sortie, especially to help with language problems to begin with - most were English air crew , later quite a few Americans who had crashed over occupied Europe passed through the line to safety .

Gilberte kept my radio , codes, arms etc. in the family vault in the Cemetaire de Roubaix -

Had she been caught by the Gestapo Both she and her family would have faced certain death at their hands , But only after days or weeks of hideous and brutal torture during interrogation .

Gilberte had one ideal - to one day see the return of her husband who was a prisoner for 5 years - hence her hatred towards the Germans. "He did not return" - to use Gilberte’s words they "returned my husband but not the man!" He was frail and with "heart trouble"

Gilberte will always remain in my thoughts, for her kindness devotion and dedication to the one and only cause!

"La Liberation de la France" - a very brave Lady - Une Patriote

 

(Bebert) Lt. Arthur A Staggs . Soe F Section.

 

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