WOMEN AT WAR: Five Heroines Who Defied the Nazis and Survived by Kevin Sim

WOMEN AT WAR: Five Heroines Who Defied the Nazis and Survived

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These five profiles of women who, during the Nazi occupation of their homelands, ""played the parts of heroines wearing the shoes of ordinary people,"" are based on research and interviews for a BBC Women of Courage series--but they transcend the media-origin norm to examine the nature of acquiescence and resistance to totalitarianism. Mary Lindell, an English aristocrat married to a French count, was bossy, outspoken, chauvinistic; a despair and an amazement to the British Secret Service, she dropped behind enemy lines in Occupied France and built an effective escape route to the Swiss border for British airmen and commandos. Norwegian Sigrid Lund, daughter of a Lutheran minister, inherited her family's respect for the individual and for the sanctity of life; during the Nazi occupation, Lund, a pacifist, organized a nonviolent-resistance network and thus rescued many civilians--including, at one point, all the children in a Jewish orphanage. Marie Rutkiewicz was a young Polish communist who was dispatched from Russia to Nazi Poland, apprehended for espionage, and sentenced to death; surrounded by torture and death, she gave birth to twins and miraculously escaped execution. Hiltgunt Zassenhaus was a German officer in the Nazi ""Department of Justice"" who smuggled food and medicine to prisoners. And, lastly, there is Auschwitz survivor Kitty Hart (Return to Auschwitz, p. 179). Again and again, these five stories raise the question: can it, does it, happen now? Says Zassenhaus of the Nazification of her city: ""I think the majority of the people went silently along out of fear, and those that joined the Party did so not because they had convictions but because they had none."" Sturdy and thoughtful.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow