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A train in winter : an extraordinary story of women, friendship, and resistance in Occupied France / Caroline Moorehead.

By: Moorehead, Caroline.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2011Description: 374 pages : illustrations, portraits, maps ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780061650703(hbk).Subject(s): World War, 1939-1945 -- France -- Women | World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, French | World War, 1939-1945 -- Underground movements -- Fiction | Women concentration camp inmates -- Poland -- Biography | France -- History -- German occupation, 1940-1945DDC classification: 940.5336
Contents:
Part one (1. An enormous toy full of subtleties ; 2. The flame of French resistance ; 3. Daughters of the Enlightenment ; 4. The hunt for resisters ; 5. Waiting for the wolf ; 6. Indulgent towards women ; 7. Recognising the unthinkable ; 8. 'We have other plans for them' ; 9. Frontstalag 122) -- Part two (10. Le convoi des 31000 ; 11. The meaning of friendship ; 12. Keeping alive, remaining me ; 13. The disposables ; 14. Pausing before the battle ; 15. Slipping into the shadows) -- Appendix: The women.
Summary: "On an icy dawn morning in Paris in January 1943, a group of 230 French women resisters were rounded up from the Gestapo detention camps and sent on a train to Auschwitz – the only train, in the four years of German occupation, to take women of the resistance to a death camp. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15, the eldest a farmer's wife of 68; there were among them teachers, biochemists, sales girls, secretaries, housewives and university lecturers. [This book] is about who they were, how and why they joined the resistance, how they were captured and treated by the [Vichy] French police and the Gestapo, their journey to Auschwitz and their daily life in the death camps - and about what it was like for the 49 survivors when they returned to France. ... Drawing on interviews with survivors and their families, on German, French and Polish archives, and on documents held by World War Two resistance organisations, [this book] covers a harrowing part of our history but is, ultimately, a portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and endurance, and of the particular qualities of female friendship."--Book jacket.
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Non-Fiction 940.5308 MOO 1 Available

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In January 1943, 230 women of the French Resistance were sent to the death camps by the Nazis who had invaded and occupied their country. This is their story, told in full for the first time--a searing and unforgettable chronicle of terror, courage, defiance, survival, and the power of friendship. Caroline Moorehead, a distinguished biographer, human rights journalist, and the author of Dancing to the Precipice and Human Cargo, brings to life an extraordinary story that readers of Mitchell Zuckoff's Lost in Shangri-La, Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts, and Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken will find an essential addition to our retelling of the history of World War II--a riveting, rediscovered story of courageous women who sacrificed everything to combat the march of evil across the world.

Includes bibliographical references (p. 345-351) and index.

Part one (1. An enormous toy full of subtleties ; 2. The flame of French resistance ; 3. Daughters of the Enlightenment ; 4. The hunt for resisters ; 5. Waiting for the wolf ; 6. Indulgent towards women ; 7. Recognising the unthinkable ; 8. 'We have other plans for them' ; 9. Frontstalag 122) -- Part two (10. Le convoi des 31000 ; 11. The meaning of friendship ; 12. Keeping alive, remaining me ; 13. The disposables ; 14. Pausing before the battle ; 15. Slipping into the shadows) -- Appendix: The women.

"On an icy dawn morning in Paris in January 1943, a group of 230 French women resisters were rounded up from the Gestapo detention camps and sent on a train to Auschwitz – the only train, in the four years of German occupation, to take women of the resistance to a death camp. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15, the eldest a farmer's wife of 68; there were among them teachers, biochemists, sales girls, secretaries, housewives and university lecturers. [This book] is about who they were, how and why they joined the resistance, how they were captured and treated by the [Vichy] French police and the Gestapo, their journey to Auschwitz and their daily life in the death camps - and about what it was like for the 49 survivors when they returned to France. ... Drawing on interviews with survivors and their families, on German, French and Polish archives, and on documents held by World War Two resistance organisations, [this book] covers a harrowing part of our history but is, ultimately, a portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and endurance, and of the particular qualities of female friendship."--Book jacket.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

The winter of 1942-43 encompassed some of the darkest days of World War II, not least for the French Resistance. Moorehead (Gellhorn) uses as her lens the lesser-known January 1943 transport of 230 women of the Resistance to the Auschwitz death camp. She conducted interviews with several of the 49 surviving women or their families and incorporates information from their published and unpublished works about the experiences they endured during their incarceration. Taking us from the early days of the Resistance and these women's roles to the postwar period of disillusionment and unhappiness, Moorehead finds inspiration in the way they assisted and protected one another, sometimes ensuring another's survival to the detriment of themselves. -VERDICT Readers will get a good overview of the historical context and the sacrifices made by women whose motivation was to provide a better world for their country. Although at times difficult to read (the descriptions of Auschwitz offer nothing new but reiterate the horror endured), this book rightfully gives these women-survivors and nonsurvivors alike-their place in our historical memory. For a memoir by a woman in the Resistance not transported with this group, see Agnes Humbert's Resistance. [See Prepub Alert, 5/16/11.]-Maria C. Bagshaw, West Dundee, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

In an unfocused account, Moorehead relates the story of 230 women accused of being members of the French Resistance who were sent on one train to Auschwitz in January 1943; fewer than 50 survived the war. In fact, only some of the 230 were involved in actual Resistance activities. The youngest prisoner, 16-year-old Rosa Floch, caught writing "Vive les Anglais!" on her school's walls, died of typhus in Birkenau. Alsatian psychiatrist Adelaide Hautval was arrested after exhorting German soldiers to stop mistreating a Jewish family; she survived the war, but committed suicide after recording the horrors she saw when forced to participate in Josef Mengele's medical experiments at Auschwitz. Moorehead (Human Cargo) wants to recount how these women supported one another and to honor women of the Resistance, but she tries to tell too many stories about a highly diverse group of women, many of them not Resistance members. Though moving, the lack of focus may leave readers confused. Photos. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* They came from all walks of life, and from all over France. Professionals and housewives, grandmothers and teenagers, they were drawn to or drawn into the Resistance, perhaps by a heightened sense of moral outrage, or just because their husbands, lovers, brothers needed their assistance. Ultimately, they would all come together in Nazi concentration camps, where the petty harassment they once endured as furtive members of undercover cells would wither in comparison to unimaginable horrors. As the war escalated, so did the savagery of their captors. Two hundred and thirty women began the journey into Hitler's hell at the death camps at Birkenau and Auschwitz; by the time the Allies arrived to liberate them at Mauthausen, only 49 were left. Through primary interviews with the 7 survivors and other groundbreaking research, distinguished English journalist and biographer Moorehead (Martha Gellhorn, Lucie de la Tour du Pin) potently demonstrates how this disparate group of valiant women withstood the atrocities of the Nazi regime through their abiding devotion to each other. Heightened by electrifying, and staggering, detail, Moorehead's riveting history stands as a luminous testament to the indomitable will to survive and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Compelling stories of a group of brave French women in Nazi-occupied France.Of the so-called Convoi des 31,000, including 230 women political prisoners sent to Auschwitz in January 1943, only a handful survived to tell the horrendous tale of their plight. Biographer Moorehead (Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era, 2009, etc.) interviewed survivors of the convoy and tracked down family and stories of numerous others to reconstruct a fraught period in French history when collaboration was assumed the norm, while underneath seethed a current of active subversion. After the shock of the arrival of the Nazis in Paris in June 1940, the Vichy government advised the French citizens to cooperate with the Germans. While most French didn't protest the treatment of exiles and Jews, some did, especially idealistic youth who had been radicalized in the '30s by the Spanish Civil War. One of the women, a dentist named Danielle Casanova, was the leader of a youth wing of the French Communist Party who recruited other young women secretaries and office workers as couriers of underground literature. With the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, resistance against the Nazis was ratcheted up and acts of sabotage were endorsed by the various factions of the Resistance. Unfortunately, the German spy network, aided by French police, grew more alert, and after attacks at the metro and in Rouen, Nantes and Bordeaux, traps were set and a sweep of "terrorists" netted by March 1942. The prisoners, both women and men, were first sent to La Sant, in Paris, where they were interrogated and tortured, then to the military fort of Romainville, before deportation to Auschwitz. Moorehead weaves into her suspenseful, detailed narrative myriad personal stories of friendship, courage and heartbreak.A sound study of research and extensive interviewing.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.