Saturday 25 February 2017

Lulu the Belgian Teen Who Defied the Gestapo

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Lucie Vanosmael's father lost an arm in the First World War.  When the Second World War broke out, Lucie was determined to avenge what had happened to her father.  Code named Lulu, Lucie joined the Belgian Resistance in 1940 at the tender age of 15, forging papers to make her appear old enough to fight. She spied on Nazi troops and ammunition dumps.  By the age of 17, Lulu was destroying bridges, ambushing troops and repatriating airmen.  Lulu also helped blow up Schaerbeek railway station in Brussels, packed with German soldiers.

Towards the end of the Second World War, Lulu was caught and turned over to the Gestapo.  She underwent intense torture including being immersed in water, deprived of food for days, and having all of her nails torn off.  However, she refused to divulge any information.  On three occasions, she was tied to a stake and threatened with being executed.  However, a German officer intervened and sent her to Germany as a labourer at a munitions factory.  She tried to escape and ended up being shot in the arm.  Eventually, she did escape and made it to Holland on foot, eating raw eggs and vegetables stolen from farms on the journey.  Upon the liberation of Belgium, she climbed on an Allied tank and directed the troops to their rendezvous.

After the war, Lucie was recruited by her former commander to locate collaborators, compile dossiers on them and testify against them at the Palais de Justice.  Lucie married twice and had three children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She passed away in 2007 at the age of 82.

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