American Airman in the Belgian Resistance

Gerald E. Sorensen and the Transatlantic Alliance

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About the Book

In May of 1944, American airman Gerald E. Sorensen was shot down over Nazi occupied Belgium. The Belgian Resistance recovered Sorensen and sheltered him in the home of the Abeels family. Friendship between Sorensen and the Abeels blossomed and they came to consider each other as family. The Abeels were active in the Resistance and Sorensen ultimately volunteered to join his Belgian brother Roger Abeels in the Secret Army. Just moments before the British Army arrived to liberate the village of Marcq-lez-Enghien, Sorensen and Abeels were killed in combat with the Nazis, fighting side-by-side.
This book tells Sorensen’s story: his upbringing, education, marriage and military service; his evasion of capture and kinship with the Abeels; his experience in the Resistance; his final combat and his impact on those he left behind.
But this book is more than a biography. It recounts the courageous struggle of the Belgians who risked everything to save Allied airmen and explains why Sorensen and Abeels are extraordinary symbols of the enduring values at the heart of today’s transatlantic alliance.

About the Author(s)

Professor Jerome W. Sheridan is the director of the American University’s Brussels Center in Belgium where he specializes in the European Union, NATO, and transatlantic relations. He is the president of the American Overseas Memorial Day Association Belgium, and lives in Tervuren, Belgium.

Bibliographic Details

Jerome W. Sheridan
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9497-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1687-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments  ix

Preface  1

Introduction  5

1 • Family, Faith and Fatherland  11

2 • Aviation Cadet  29

3 • A Wartime Romance  49

4 • Jerry’s Air War  67

5 • The Underground  88

6 • King, Law and Liberty  106

7 • The Summer of 1944  128

8 • Brothers in Arms  150

9 • Farewell  169

10 • The Legacy  191

Epilogue  215

Appendix: AOMDA Belgium  221

Chapter Notes  223

Bibliography  233

Index  237