They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives - a singer at the Paris Opera, a midwife, a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, spirited Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15 who scrawled “V” for victory on the walls of her lycée; the eldest, a farmer’s wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to one another, hailing from villages and cities from across France, these brave women were united in hatred and defiance of their Nazi occupiers.
Eventually the Gestapo hunted down 230 of these women and imprisoned them in a fort outside Paris. Separated from home and loved ones, these disparate individuals turned to one another, their common experience conquering divisions of age, education, profession, and class as they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie. In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only 49 would return to France.
A Train in Winter draws on interviews with these women and their families; German, French, and Polish archives; and World War II resistance organization documents to uncover a dark chapter of history that offers an inspiring portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and survival, and of the remarkable, enduring power of female friendship.
“By turns heartbreaking and inspiring.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Compelling and moving.…The literature of wartime France and the Holocaust is by now so vast as to confound the imagination, but when a book as good as this comes along, we are reminded that there is always room for something new…A necessary book.” (Washington Post)
“[A] moving novelistic portrait.…An inspiring and fascinating read.” (People)
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BLEAK AND VERY SAD; I HAD TO BAIL
- Prsilla "Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening."
A real look at life
Enjoyable? Maybe not. But a hard look into our history and real life is inescapable in this book. If you're looking for a light and entertaining experience, this isn't it. But if you want to look into a period of our history that is unbelievable, this IS it. If you want to be drawn into the experience of a group of beautiful women who loved and supported each other through absolutely unimaginable circumstances, this IS it. We just have no idea. If you want to know what true love (not romantic love) is all about, this is your book.
Hang in there. Initially, I thought I would never get used to the narrator's voice, but I did. And the first part of the book is tedious--building the characters and giving the history. When you get further into the book, you absolutely won't want to put it down because those women have become your friends.
Initially I found it hard to deal with her accent.
- Sher Sutherland