Friday, April 10, 2009

Violette SZABO

This story appeared on the same link as the SOE story.

Violette Szabo joined the Special
Operations Executive
in 1943. Violette Szabo's
code-name was 'Corrinne'. Her first SOE mission was in April 1944 and in July 1944, Szabo was landed
by Lysander to
spy on the closed zone around the Atlantic Wall. Szabo returned to Britain via
Lysander in June 1944.
Violette Szabo was born in June 1921 to an English
father and a French mother. She spent her early childhood in Paris but later
moved to London where she went to school at the Brixton Secondary School. She
left school at the age of 14 and started to work as a hairdresser's assistant.
After this job, she worked at the Oxford Street branch of Woolworth's as a sales
She married a captain in the Free French Army in 1940 but he was
killed in action in the North Africa
campaign. Szabo received a letter from a 'Mr. E Potter' inviting her for an
interview. At the interview, Potter suggested that her ability to speak French
and her general knowledge of France would be of great advantage to his
department. Szabo readily agreed to help. There were those in SOE who did not
believe that she had the correct temperament to succeed. They were also
concerned that her French accent was too English to fool the Germans. However,
she was accepted for training and after passing this, she was parachuted into
France in April 1944. Szabo had been given the task of helping the French
try to re-constitute a group in Rouen. This required her
traveling from Rouen to Paris on a regular basis - but within six weeks she had
succeeded in her mission and she returned to London.
On June 7th, 1944, Szabo
was parachuted in Limoges. Her task was to co-ordinate the work of the French
in the Limoges area in the initial days after D-Day. She was
captured by the SS 'Das Reich' Panzer Division and handed over to the Gestapo in
Paris for interrogation. From Paris, Violette Szabo was sent to Ravensbruck
concentration camp where she was executed in January 1945. She was
posthumously awarded the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre.

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