because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Violette Szabo

By the time she was twenty-one years old, Violette Szabo had married, given birth to a daughter, been widowed when her husband died in battle, and volunteered to be an undercover agent in Nazi-occupied France. After being trained in navigation, evasion and escape, unarmed combat, the use of explosives and weaponry, and everything else she might need for the job, she parachuted into France in April of 1944.

On arrival, Szabo immediately helped to organize a new French Resistance group and went about the business of sabotaging roads, railway bridges and communication lines while sending back information to the Allies on the best targets for bombing. Then, after a month of intense activity, she returned to England for re-assignment.

When Szabo re-entered occupied France in June to help prepare for D-Day (the U.S. entry into the war), an unexpected Nazi roadblock resulting in a shoot-out put her in the hands of Nazi SS interrogators. After two months of imprisonment and torture, she was transferred to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany where she was executed in February of 1945, only three months before the war's end, in a flurry of killing intended to keep secret -- to the extent possible -- the scope and severity of Nazi war crimes.

A book written by Szabo's daughter Tania is entitled Young, Brave and Beautiful. The dramatized film version of her life is entitled Carve Her Name With Pride. And the video game Velvet Assassin, released in 2009, was inspired by Szabo and her missions in World War II. In-your-face women's bodies are sometimes murdered, but their spirits live on and on.

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