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Tu rendras un grand service à l'Angleterre, 1943-1945. L'odyssée de Jacques de Duve.

Public History Meetings of CegeSoma (2023- 5) - invitation by the non-profit organisation ‘Friends of CegeSoma’.

Conference-debate in French with guest speaker Charles-Albert de Behault

Hosted by Fabrice Maerten


After two unsuccessful escape attempts at the beginning of the Second World War, Jacques de Duve, Belgian patriot stemming from an old German family from Hannover is more than ever keen to be of service for his country and to join his English wife, a close collaborator of Paul-Henri Spaak in London.
To do so, he will follow the advice of two German officers opposed to the Nazi regime: his paternal uncle who works for Organisation Todt and one of his long-time friends, in charge of the “Abwehr” in Antwerp. De Duve gets himself enrolled in the Abwehr for the sole purpose of sending military intelligence of the highest order to the Allies as soon as possible. His reception in England turned out not to be what he had expected. After his incredible escape, he was imprisoned in a secret MI5 prison under harsh conditions. For one year, the English services would insist on depicting him as a German secret service agent... When he returned to Belgium, he was entirely cleared of all accusations and awarded the Croix des évadés.

In order to retrace the captivating and touching odyssey of his father-in-law and to write the book ‘Tu rendras un grand service à l’Angleterre, 1943-1945. L’odyssée de Jacques de Duve’(You will be of great service to England, 1943-1945. The odyssey of Jacques de Duve), Charles-Albert de Behault collected and studied many documents held by his family as well as publicly available sources. He will be the guest of the Friends of CegeSoma and interviewed by Fabrice Maerten on Wednesday 24 May within the framework of the Public History Meetings of CegeSoma. 

Welcome to all of you!

Charles-Albert de Behault holds a diploma in law, finance and management. Since his retirement, he has published a dozen of historical papers. His work is mainly based on primary sources.

Tu rendras un grand service à l’Angleterre”, his first book, is the product of three years of research in many files for the most part recently declassified or still with restricted access. Claus Taaks, German historian specialised in Enigma (cipher device) and the German resistance to Nazism has helped him in this task.



Fabrice Maerten is a member of the scientific team of CegeSoma since 1995. He is in charge of guiding the public through the collections.

He holds a PhD in history from UCL and the focus of his research lies on the Resistance in Belgium during the Second World War. He has publised, among others, “Papy était-il un héros ? Sur les traces des hommes et des femmes dans la Résistance pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale”, which was simultaneously published in Dutch with the title “Was opa een held ? Speuren naar mannen en vrouwen in het verzet tijdens WOII” in 2020.