This fascinating book tells the remarkable story of an ordinary American woman’s heroism in the French Resistance. Virginia Roush fell in love with Philippe d’Albert-Lake during a visit to France in 1936; they married soon after. In 1943, they both joined the Resistance, where Virginia put her life in jeopardy as she sheltered downed airmen and later survived a Nazi prison camp. After the war, she stayed in France with Philippe, and was awarded the Légion d’Honneur and the Medal of Honor. She died in 1997.
Judy Barrett Litoff brings together two rare documentsVirginia’s diary of wartime France until her capture in 1944 and her prison memoir written immediately after the war. Masterfully edited, they convey the compassion and toughness of a nearly forgotten heroine as they provide an invaluable record of the workings of the Resistance by one of the very few American women who participated in it.
“An indelible portrait of extraordinary strength of character . . . [D’Albert-Lake] is sombre, reflective, and attentive to every detail.”The New Yorker
“A sharply etched and moving story of love, companionship, commitment, and sacrifice. . . . This beautifully edited diary and memoir throw an original light on the French Resistance.”Robert Gildea, author of Marianne in Chains: In Search of the German Occupation, 1940-1945
“At once a stunning self-portrait and dramatic narrative of a valorous young American woman . . . an exciting and gripping story, one of the best of the many wartime tales.” Walter Cronkite
“An enthralling tale which brims with brave airmen and plucky heroines.”David Kirby, St. Petersburg Times
|Publisher:||Fordham University Press|
|Series:||World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
JUDY BARRETT LITOFF’s books include We’re in This War Too: World War II Letters from American Women in Uniform and, from Fordham, Fighting Fascism in Europe: The World War II Letters of an American Veteran of the Spanish Civil War. She is Professor of History at Bryant University.
Table of Contents
Editor's Note ix
Introduction: Women and the French Resistance: The Story of Virginia d'Albert-Lake Judy Barrett Litoff xi
Remembering My Mother Patrick d'Albert-Lake xxxv
The Diary, October 11, 1939-April 1944
Outbreak of War to the Fall of France, October 11, 1939-June 23, 1940 3
Life after the Fall of France, June 24, 1940-August 29, 1940 50
Life after the Fall of France, September 1940-April 1944 75
The Memoir, "My Story"
Working for Comet Escape Line and Arrest, Fall 1943-June 14, 1944 91
Imprisonment at Fresnes and Romainville, June 15, 1944-August 15, 1944 119
Deportation to Ravensbruck, August 15, 1944-August 22, 1944 142
Internment at Ravensbruck and Torgau, August 22, 1944-October 16, 1944 155
Internment at Konisgberg, October 16, 1944-February 2, 1945 177
Return to Ravensbruck, February 2, 1945-February 28, 1945 209
Liebenau, February 28, 1945-Late May 1945 223
Afterword Jim Calio 242
Further Reading 265
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a great book. The details were fantastic! I loved the set up of the "footnotes", which were easily accesable as I read. I found them very informative and helpful to read as I read the book. It took a little bit longer to read but helped make the book more informative. It made it very easy to get back to the place where I was reading. The struggle that Virginia went through and her strength was amazing. She helped so many people without any selfish motives. It made me appreciate more the sacrifices that men and womem did during WWII. My life is blessed because God put these people to help rid this world of the tyranny of those years!
This is a personal account of life as a political prisoner in German Nazi encampments and is not a dry recitation of history, but rather a passionate, real and often unbelievable account of the strength of an American woman, married to a Frenchman and how she survives her ordeal guided by the love of her adopted country and her man. The writing is superb and the book a page turner. I teared many times and, as with most great books I read, I didn't want it to come to an end. Yes, I highly recommend this book.