Title: Train in Winter: An Extraordinarystory of Women, Friendship and Resistance in Occupied France.
Author: Caroline Moorehead
Review: I love history and I love reading about strong women who stood up against the evils of war. The author Caroline Moorehead introduces the reader to over 50 different women from 50 different backgrounds that all came together to form a untied bond against the Germans and Hitler in occupied France during World War 2 and survived the death camps.
The author starts off with a brief history about World War 1 and what happened to the French Resistance after the end of the war. Caroline Moorehead give a brief history of France in the 1930's leading up the occupation during World War 2. I found it interesting to learning about the different career's many of the women had before they join the Resistance. Many of the women were in their early twenties or young mothers who felt a strong desire to make a world a better place for their families. Some were brought into the resistance because their father and brothers were already apart of the many different groups. The French government wanted their women to be well rounded and most of the resistance women had bachelors degrees in medical, science, teaching and some worked for their families Printing shops.
During the beginning of the occupation of Paris people we not allowed to gather in public place so the would gather in each others home and listen to the British broadcast for information from the outside world. Many times this would create a bond among people and they would try and raise up against the Germans but most would be caught and sent to prison. The original Freedom fighters or resistance where Communist based groups from World War 1 and knew how to be safe and how to fight against Germans. Many times women were chosen to carry pelmets and information thoughout France because the Germans never suspected women. It was the French Government that later caught on and turned in the Resistance women in to the Germans
The list of women that are mention though out the book makes it difficult to remember one of the woman's story because the author jumps around. I would have preferred she picked 10 women and each chapters was about that woman and how she join the Resistance, what she did for the Resistance and how she was taken captive. I feel it would have connected me stronger to these women but instead I found find myself lost trying to figure out who the author was talking about at different times in the book.
Moorehead spares no detail in her descriptions of the death camps the women were sent to and the incredible filth, overcrowding, the denial of life's basics. She describable in detail the inhuman violence and savage murder that led to a litter of disregarded corpses that grew in the mass graves.
What saves us from endless tears and heartache is what saved some of the women. The individual selfless acts and the support they provided for each other. They looked out for each other, often taking the same risks as they did in France, protecting and hiding the weaker members from the guards and saving them from execution or the gas chamber, sharing food, and nursing each other.
With this combination of friendship, comfort and help, rather than through luck or miracle, some of the women survived.
I loved this book because it showed the strength that any woman can have and that never allow fear to rule your life.
Thanks to Heidi for this review.
Thanks to Heidi for this review.
Copyright: (November 8) 2011
Quick Review: 4 stars out of 5
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent by the publisher for review. TLC Tours.
Synopsis: They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives; a singer at the Paris Opera, a midwife, a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, secreted Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of fifteen who scrawled "V" for victory on the walls of her lycée; the eldest, a farmer's wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to each other, hailing from villages and cities from across France, these brave women were united in hatred and defiance of their Nazi occupiers.
Eventually, the Gestapo hunted down 230 of these women and imprisoned them in a fort outside Paris. Separated from home and loved ones, these disparate individuals turned to one another, their common experience conquering divisions of age, education, profession, and class, as they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie.
In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only forty-nine would return to France.
A Train in Winter draws on interviews with these women and their families; German, French, and Polish archives; and documents held by World War II resistance organizations to uncover a dark chapter of history that offers an inspiring portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and survival—and of the remarkable, enduring power of female friendship.
Author Biography: Caroline Moorehead is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo, and Martha Gellhorn. Well known for her work in human rights, she has published a history of the Red Cross and an acclaimed book about refugees, Human Cargo. Her previous book was Dancing to the Precipice, a biography of Lucie de la Tour du Pin. She lives in London and Italy.