Archives of Alphonse Escrinier-Eva

  • Access and consultation: The fonds Alphonse Escrinier-Eva can be accessed during the opening hours of the reading room. Its content is freely accessible. Reservation.
  • Reproduction:  The content of the fonds can be reproduced freely in our reading room. For any information about requests for a document reproduction carried out by CegeSoma staff can be found here.
  • Research instruments: Inventory  AA1742

Archive fonds description :

The Alphonse Escrinier-Eva fonds mainly holds documents about the activities of Alphonse Escrinier at the EVA service (in particular regarding escapes) and some documents a   bout the identification of traitors and collaborators.

Eva (abbreviation of the French word “evasion” – “escape” in English) was a section of the Portemine network specialised in housing, supplying and distribution of civil clothing to Allied combat pilots whose planes were shot down. They were then taken care of by the escape network Comète. Eva was founded after René Ponty, member of Portemine, got in contact with Anne Brusselmans from Comète. The chief of Portemine, René Roovers, supervised this section. The main tasks were carried out by Alphonse Escrinier, Charles Hoste and Gaston Matthys, Roger Ponty, Prosper Spilliaert, Jean Portzenheim, Ernest Van Moorleghem and Paul Hellemans.

In November 1943, the Eva network was split into two separate safehouse networks: the first was supervised by Gaston Matthys, the second one by Jean Portzenheim. Gaston Matthys keept in touch with the Comète escape network, for which he was Portemine’s sole contact person. When Roovers was arrested in January 1944, Jean Portzenheim started to look for another network than Comète to help stranded pilots. This turned out to be a poor choice as 32 pilots were arrested on the fake K.L.M. airline route operated by René Van Muylem who worked for the Germans. According to Alphonse Escrinier, the Eva network took care of one hundred and forty pilots, ten escaped war prisoners and one Dutch secret agent. Gaston Matthys for his part stated a total eighty-six pilots, thirty of which fell into the hands of the Germans.

Alphonse Escrinier, certified public accountant, was born in Saint-Gilles on 2 July 1908. In 1927, he was a militiaman, he was taken out of duty after 7 months of active service in July 1928. He joined the anti-aircraft defense G.T.A. (Garde territoriale antiaérienne) as a volunteer in 1939 and was deployed on 10 May 1940. He During the Battle of Belgium he worked for the military staff of the D.T.C.A. Artillery Group. After the surrender of Belgium, he went home in June, after having escaped from a prisoner convoy to Germany.

In September 1940, he joined the resistance together with René Roovers and Charles Hoste from Portemine-Zéro. The group gathered intelligence, tried to identify traitors and collaborators, published La Libre Belgique newspaper, and recruited agents. In March 1943, he co-founded the Comète-Eva network and specialised in tracking down and picking up stranded Allied pilots, which became his primary activity. He suffered burns and fled Belgium on 15 April 1944 to join the United Kingdom. He arrived in London on 10 June and enrolled as a volunteer. In 1945, he was recognised as lieutenant S.R.A.. After the war, he was appointed as chief inspector for the Belgian State Security.

For more information :

  • Bernard Henri, La Résistance 1940-1945, Bruxelles : La Renaissance du Livre, 1969.
  • Le livre d’or de la résistance en Belgique, Bruxelles : M.D.N., 1948.
  • Tanham George K., Contribution à l'histoire de la résistance belge, 1940-1944, Bruxelles : Presses universitaires de Bruxelles, 1971.