OUTWITTING THE GESTAPO by Lucie Aubrac

OUTWITTING THE GESTAPO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A suspenseful rendering of Aubrac's experiences as a French Resistance fighter during WW II. This memoir owes its existence to the 1983 extradition to France of Klaus Barbie, the ``Butcher of Lyon'': In order to refute Barbie's defenders and former collaborators, Aubrac told her story publicly for the first time- -and it became a bestseller in France. Focusing on a nine-month period that begins with the conception of her second child, Aubrac looks back 40 years at experiences of enduring intensity. During the war, the author, her Jewish husband Raymond, and other ``resistants'' published and distributed underground newspapers, found new identities and homes for fugitives, forged permits, stole guns, and blew up roads and bridges--all routine Resistance activities. What makes this account special, however, is Aubrac's irrepressible energy and resourcefulness, and the graceful way in which she interweaves her separate but parallel lives. As a mother and wife struggling in a wartime economy, she bartered for hard-to-find items; as a devoted schoolteacher, she applied the lessons of history to current events; as a secret member of the Resistance, she couldn't disclose her true identity even to her most trusted colleagues, switching names and identities like a quick-change artist. Three times, she helped free her husband from prison. The last incarceration was the most harrowing: Walking into a trap, Raymond was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to die by Barbie himself. Despite her anguish, Aubrac tricked her husband's captors into meetings and masterminded an intricate rescue. The Aubracs' escape by airlift to London, where their baby was born, is tremendously exciting. A breathtaking account that feeds the soul as much as it satisfies the appetite for vicarious danger. (Seven b&w photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: May 28th, 1993
ISBN: 0-8032-1029-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993




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