Belgian zoologistDied when: 42 years 299 days (513 months)
Star Sign: Taurus
Jean-Marie Eugène Derscheid (May 19, 1901, Sterrebeek – March 13, 1944) was a Belgian zoologist who focused much of his professional interest on Africa.
He was a world expert on breeding exotic waterfowl in captivity, authored scientific articles on a wide range of wildlife species, became the initial director of Africa's first national park and gathered an important historical manuscript collection on Rwandan history that is available online.
An open access online biography of Derscheid has been translated into English.Professor Derscheid was European secretary for the International Committee for Bird Protection and was awarded the medal of the Société d’Acclimatation de France.
He was a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and of the U.S.National Audubon Society, a corresponding fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union, an honorable life member of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia and member of the Avicultural Society (U.K.).
As a young man, during World War I, he joined the Belgian Army, only to be apprehended in 1918 while attempting to join the fighting near Ypres and imprisoned by the German Army at Hasselt Prison until the Armistice.
He was awarded the Croix civique de 1ère classe avec liséré d'or for his service.During World War II, he served in the Belgian Resistance as a leader with the Comet line, which was organized to help Allied soldiers and airmen escape German-occupied Europe and return to Great Britain.
He was (again) captured, this time by Nazi Germany's Geheime Feldpolizei (GFP or Secret Field Police) in October 1941, sent to a series of prisons and concentration camps and ultimately executed as a spy on March 13, 1944.