Agent for the Resistance: A Belgian Saboteur in World War II (Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series)
As German pressure on Europe escalated in the late 1930s, a young Belgian pacifist completing his Ph.D. in chemistry watched with horror the preparation for the inevitable invasion of his country. In the face of advancing German troops, his passion for freedom and his growing hatred of Hitler led him and a group of his friends into the resistance movement and five years of privation, danger, and, for some, torture and death, at the hands of the Gestapo. This dramatic memoir traces Herman Bodson’s transformation from a pacifist and scientist to, in his own words, a cold fighter and a killer” in the Belgian underground, an expert in explosives and sabotage. Serving first in the OMBR (Office Militaire Belge de Resistance), he later formed a group of underground fighters in the Belgian Ardennes. They undertook blowing up military trains and installations-including the sabotage of a bridge which resulted in the deaths of some six hundred German soldiers-cutting German communication lines, and rescuing downed American fliers. Bodson also served as a medical aide to an American military doctor at Bastogne in the crucial days of the Battle of the Bulge. The powerfully told narrative follows him through the liberation of Belgium and his postwar efforts with the Belgian Special Force to unmask traitors and bring them to justice. This, then, is the story of a man who gets caught up in a war and rather quickly becomes an efficient and clandestine killer, avenging the Nazi murder of a comrade in arms and revolting against an intolerable regime. It is also the story of the heroic resistance movement-how it came to be and how it fought bravely for the cause of human dignity and freedom. Bodson’s honest and absorbing inside account of the underground effort in occupied Belgium adds much to the record of World War II and provides insight into the intellectual and emotional responses that have led to the birth of underground movements in many nations. It is a compelling story of a people united in a comradeship in the defense of freedom.