Parachutées en terre ennemie: portraits d'espionnes

TitleParachutées en terre ennemie: portraits d'espionnes
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsSiedentopf, Monika
Series EditorWieviorka, Olivier
Number of Pages266

This is a study of section F of Winston Churchill's Special Operations Executive. Thirty-nine French and British women were chosen to receive military training to serve as spies in occupied France. The book draws on archival material as well as interviews with the surviving Resistance members.

Short TitleParachutées en terre ennemie
Translated TitleParachuted into enemy territory: Portraits of female spies
Original PublicationAbsprung über Feindesland
Full Text

In 1942, Winston Churchill authorized the recruitment of women, better adapted to certain delicate missions, launching the Special Operations Executive, a secret organization destined to sustain European resistance to the Nazi enemy. It was difficult, however, to find qualified agents... They needed to be lively, intelligent, courageous, daring, and seductive if possible! Thus, the 39 candidates of section F (for France) came from multiple horizons and with numerous motivations. Their training was brief, but military--the handling of arms, sabotage, enduring torture, etc. Their history, full of surprises, and, for 13 of them, terribly dramatic, is strangely unknown in France. To retrace their adventure, Monika Siedentopf had access to archives, some of which were recently declassified, and gathered the testimony of former Resistantes. Her gripping story bears witness to the bravery of these young women. But it turns to drama when the historian reveals the existence of a mole in section F, which, unfortunately, was not discovered until well after the war...

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