Fernande Keufgens

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Fernande Keufgens (also known as Fernande Davis) was a Belgian resistance fighter with the Army of Liberation (fr; nl) during the Second World War.

Early life

Fernande Keufgens was one of eight children in a close-knit family; she was sixteen years old when the Germans invaded Belgium.[1] Before World War II began, Keufgens's father—who witnessed the horror of World War I—foresaw the Nazi invasion and the subsequent draft into munitions factories.[1][2] Her father then arranged for her to move further from the German border to Verviers. Two years after the German invasion, however, Keufgens was summoned back to her home; she was ordered to report to a German munitions factory. Keufgens refused, however, to serve the Nazi army; she boarded the train to the factory, and jumped off before it arrived at the work camp to join the Belgian Resistance.[3][1]

World War II

After jumping off the train, Keufgens walked to her uncle's home. He was working with the Army of Liberation at the time.[3] Despite initially protesting, Keufgens's uncle agreed to her resistance work, giving her a false ID card and counterfeit food stamps. Keufgens became a courier for the Army of Liberation.[3]

Keufgens had numerous run-ins with the Nazis throughout the war. On one such instance, Keufgens was escorting a young boy to a tuberculosis hospital while also transporting ID cards to take to the nuns at the hospital.[4] During confrontations with the police, Keufgens's fluency in German often caused the officers to mistake her for a German.[5] Despite numerous run-ins and working with the Resistance until the end of the war, Keufgens thankfully survived the war.[5]

Later life

About her Resistance work, Keufgens says "I was determined...I was determined to do nothing to help (the Germans) take over the country...you did it once to my father [referencing her father's experience in WWI], you're not going to do it to me."[6]

After the war, she married an American soldier, Bill Davis. The two moved to the United States, where Keufgens became a university professor in French.[5] In 2008, Keufgens wrote her memoir called Girl in the Belgian Resistance.[7] She continues to lecture about her wartime resistance work.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Fernande Keufgens Davis - Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center".
  2. ^ Atwood, Kathryn J. (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 143. ISBN 9781556529610.
  3. ^ a b c Atwood, Kathryn J. (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 144. ISBN 9781556529610.
  4. ^ Atwood, Kathryn J. (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 141. ISBN 9781556529610.
  5. ^ a b c d Atwood, Kathryn J. (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 145. ISBN 9781556529610.
  6. ^ "Lower Gwynedd resident pens WWII memoir".
  7. ^ Davis, Fernande. Girl in the Belgian Resistance: A Wakeful Eye in the Underground. Wayne, PA: Beach Lloyd Publishers, 2008. ISBN 9780979277894
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