Escape and Evasion Via Switzerland

With so much emphasis on escape and evasion over the Pyrenees and from the French coast directly to England, the role of neutral Switzerland risks being overlooked.  This part of the website seeks to, at least partially, remedy that omission.  See the following:

  1. Websites about Switzerland During World War II
    1. B-17 Museum:
      1. Adelboden, Switzerland, Memorial Plaque:
      2. Davos, Switzerland, Memorial:
    2. WWII Internment Camp Survivors Honored 70 Years Later:
    3. “The Last Chance” (“Die Letze Chance”), full-length film by MGM Intl. with evadees in the cast.  English subtitles.
    4. Wikipedia article, Switzerland During the World Wars.
    5. Wikipedia article, Swiss Neutrality.
    6. War History Online, How Did Switzerland Manage to Remain Neutral During World War II?
    7. Frontline (PBS), The Sinister Face of Neutrality, The Role of Swiss Financial Institutions in the Plunder of European Jewry.
    8. History of Switzerland, Switzerland’s Role in World War II.
    9. History is Now, Was Switzerland Neutral or a Nazi Ally in World War II? 

2.  Description of the situation in Switzerland by Rolf Zaugg, owner of the B-17 Museum, Utzenstorf, Switzerland, in an email to the webmaster, :

” (The) hub for the escape was the American cemetery of Muensingen July 1944 to January 1948 under the direction of then 2 Lt. Floyd E. Mac Spadden and later Captain H’ Mac Cormac.  Pilots and bomber crews caught in flight were sent to the Wauwilermoos penal camp. The Swiss population helped the Americans to prepare their escape and organized bus and train tickets for them. In the beginning, the escape went via Bassel / Germany, until it was realized that this was too dangerous for the pilots and bomber crews. Then the escape route was changed via Geneva /Evian to France Spain England until the End of the war the route was active thanks to the French Resistance FFI.
“What was very important for the escape of the pilots and bomber crews from
Switzerland was for example the MCR-1 radio, with which the news could be
heard secretly from the BBC, in my B-17 museum this radio is exhibited.”
3. Appendices about Switzerland from Escape and Evasion Reports Shared by Rolf Zaugg, owner of the B-17 Museum, Utzenstorf, Switzerland
4. Miniature Communications Receiver
Rolf Zaugg of the B-17 Museum in Switzerland, provided the following photo of the MCR-1 Miniature Communications Receiver.  For more information, click on the Crypto Museum website at:
For more on WWII spy radio sets, click on

5. Books at least partially about escape and evasion via Switzerland: Click here on this website for a list with descriptions of the books and their jacket covers.  Suggestions for additions to the list are welcome.  See also the book list on the website of the Swiss Internees Association at  And also the bibliography, beginning on pg. 332, of the doctoral dissertation by Dwight S. Mears, Interned or Imprisoned?: The Successes and Failures of International Law in the Treatment of American Internees in Switzerland, 1943-45. See also article in the AFEES Newsletter about the Swiss Internees Association, ” Swiss Internees group founder and president just kept right on flying”, June 2011, pg. 9.

6. AFEES Newsletter Articles about Switzerland.  To view the articles, click here to be directed to the list of pdf files of past AFEES newsletters.  Scroll down to the issue you want to view from the list below and click on it to open it.

    • “Dan Tells of Life in a Swiss Prison,” – March 1997, pg. 18
    • Book Duel of Aviators–Duel of Diplomats, by Ernest Wetter (in French) is about the air war between Germans and Swiss, Sept. 1997, pg. 25.
    • “French Honor an Accidental Crew” by Roger Anthoine, Aviateurs – Pietons
      vers la Suisse, 1940-1945, September (Fall) 2003, pg. 4-5;
    • “Hiking to Switzerland via the Alps” – December (Winter) 2000, pg. 8-9;  (reproduced below).
    • Looking for Swiss Helper – Sam E. Woods – Spring 1989, Part 2, pg. 12;
    • “The Truth About Swiss Internees” – Winter 1990-91, pg. 16-17; (reproduced below).
    • Harold L. Cook – crosses into Switzerland – March 2002, pg. 1;
    • “Swiss Internees Group Gets Together in Florida” – Winter (Dec.) 2004-5, pg. 1.
    • Switzerland – Summer 1989, pg. 5; June (Summer) 2003, pg. 26;

7. Swiss Internees Association, Inc.  Their website at is very informative and includes stories of 19 interned airmen, a book list, and links of interest .  Below is an article, “The Truth About Swiss Internees,” from the Winter 1990 AFEES Newsletter, written  by  Robert  A.  Long,  President  of  the  Swiss  Internees  Association.  Click  on  the  article  to  enlarge  it.  (Or  go  to  the  Winter  1990 newsletter’s  pdf  file , pages 16-17 on  this  website,  to  view  it.)

8. Article from AFEES Newsletter, “Hiking to Switzerland Via the Alps” (click on the image to enlarge it)

9. Maps of Escape Lines Using Switzerland

Dutch-Paris Line

The map below of the Dutch-Paris Line escape routes appears in the following book: Megan Koreman, Gewone helden: de Dutch-Paris ontsnappingslijn 1942-1945, Amsterdam: Boom Uitgevers, 2016, and in an English translation,  The Escape Line, How the Ordinary Heroes of Dutch-Paris Resisted the Nazi Occupation of Western Europe, Oxford University Press, 2018.  It is copyrighted and may not be duplicated without permission of the publisher.  It is reproduced here with the kind permission of the author.


Maps Showing Evasion Via Switzerland

The two following maps appeared on pages 65 and 79, respectively, in Achtung! Achtung! Die Flugfestungen Kommen! (Attention! Attention! The Flying Fortresses are Coming!), Memoirs of WW-II, by Lt. Col. John M. Carah, edited by Warren B. Carah, and published by Elbow Lane Books, Brighton, MI, 2006. Our thanks to Warren B. Carah for permitting us to reproduce them here.

Evasion Route of 2nd Lt. John M. Carah

Evasion Route of 2nd Lt. Ralph Bruce

10. “Chronology of the arrivals of evaders” (“Chronologie des arrives d’evadeurs”) from “Aviateurs Pietons vers la Suisse, 1940-1945″ by Roger Anthoine, Editions Secavia, Geneva, Switzerland, 1997.  The chronology, on pages 361-366 of the book, groups the evaders by when they arrived in Switzerland.  The breakdown is as follows:

      • 1940   4
      • 1941  4
      • 1942   18
      • 1943  118
      • 1944   124
      • 1945      18
                • Undetermined  37
                •        TOTAL         323

The names of the 323 individuals have been added to the Index to Evaders on this website.  Roger Anthoine’s list of evaders, pp. 361-366, is as appears below.  Our  thanks  to  Mr.  Serge  Cruchet,  publisher of Editions  Secavia,  which  published  Mr.  Anthoine’s  book,  for  permission  to  reproduce  the list  here and to add the names to this website’s Index to Evaders.

11. New Books About Escape and Evasion Through Switzerland

a.  Holden, Norman W., The Lucky Seven,, 2023.  The author wrote this book on behalf of his father-in-law, the late Mr. James J. Goebel, Jr., a B-24 pilot, who was also an AFEES member and organization director.  Published on June 1, 2023,  The Lucky Seven tells the story of James’ journey in 1944 after having being shot down over Europe.  He reaches freedom thanks to brave resistance fighters in Belgium and France. The author says that “researching this book took several years and was truly a labor of love and includes stories from his fellow airmen and the Europeans who ensured his path back to safety. So, I’m extremely proud to bring his incredible true story to life.”  To contact the author, write to him at [email protected].

“One airman’s remarkable true wartime story of escape and evasion from German-occupied Europe, and the brave résistance fighters who delivered him to freedom.  During the early afternoon hours of April 24, 1944, Second Lieutenant James J. Goebel, Jr. finds himself  floating alone toward the war-torn Belgian landscape below. What was his safe passage home, his B-24 Liberator, is now engulfed in flames and hurls to the ground only to report back with a distant thud upon the earth. Just moments earlier, the B-24 and its crew of ten were en route back to England after their inaugural bombing mission and the successful pounding of the Nazi war machine. At the hand of sheer randomness and bad luck, an enemy fighter selected their heavy bomber for retribution from the 230 B-24s dispatched earlier that morning.  Forced to jump for their lives, Goebel and his fellow crew members were now scattered along the Belgium countryside. Soon to be a downed airmen in a hostile enemy occupied territory, the odds of survival are against him. With two men running toward his drifting canopy, Goebel fears he may never see home again.
The Lucky Seven is a gripping true story of escape, evasion and résistance.”  To contact the author, write to him at [email protected].
The Lucky Seven were:
  • Brinkhurst, Donald
  • Goebel, James J., Jr.
  • Holton, Jack W.
  • Pavelka, Joseph
  • Solomon, Phillip
  • Tucker, Robert C.
  • Westerlund, Charles H.