A synopsis as provided by Barnes & Noble):
Marthe Cohn was a beautiful young Jewish woman living just across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power. Her family sheltered Jews fleeing the Nazis, including Jewish children sent away by their terrified parents. But soon her homeland was also under Nazi rule. As the Nazi occupation escalated, Marthe’s sister was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. The rest of her family was forced to flee to the south of France. Always a fighter, Marthe joined the French Army.
As a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army, Marthe fought valiantly to retrieve needed inside information about Nazi troop movements by slipping behind enemy lines, utilizing her perfect German accent and blond hair to pose as a young German nurse who was desperately trying to obtain word of a fictional fiancé. By traveling throughout the countryside and approaching troops sympathetic to her plight, risking death every time she did so, she learned where they were going next and was able to alert Allied commanders.
When, at the age of eighty, Marthe Cohn was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Médaille Militaire, not even her children knew to what extent this modest woman had faced death daily while helping defeat the Nazi empire. At its heart, this remarkable memoir is the tale of an ordinary human being who, under extraordinary circumstances, became the hero her country needed her to be.I can not imagine the horrors people had to go through in WWII. I can not imagine how evil people can become as soon as they dehumanized others. But I was provided a glimpse. This book does not get into unnecessary gory details of war, but nevertheless makes you feel like you are right in the story with her, so that you can feel her angsts.
Some side remarks:
- Marthe comes from a religious family but did not live a frum life.
- Her grandfather was a Rabbi. He did not approve of her lifestyle but let her do her thing and always walked out of the room at the time she should have made a brochah, not to cause any inconveniences.
- She and some siblings dated non-Jews.
- She was a person of high intelligence, courage and integrity, a real role model for the rest of humanity. And she managed to keep her past secret from her family for most of her life.