Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Violette Szabo - G.C

Violette Reine Elizabeth Bushell Szabo, G.C., M.B.E., CdG (June 26, 1921 – c.February 5, 1945) was a World War II secret agent.
Violette Szabo was the daughter of a French mother and an English father, born Violette Bushell in Paris, France. She was a secret agent in Occupied France. Her wartime activities were dramatised in the film Carve Her Name with Pride, based on the book of the same name by R.J. Minney. During her time in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) she met Leo Marks, who gave her what is now thought of as the definitive World War II code-poem Yours.
In 1940, Violette married Etienne Szabo, a French officer of Hungarian descent. Shortly after the birth of their only child, Tania, he was killed at the Battle of El Alamein. This was the event that caused Violette to offer her services to the SOE. Parachuted into France by the SOE, near Cherbourg she reorganized a resistance network that had been smashed by the Germans. She led them in sabotaging bridges and her reports to SOE headquarters on the factories producing war materials for the Germans were extremely important to establish bombing targets.
She returned to England and quickly was sent back to Limoges in France where she coordinated the local Maquis to sabotage German communication lines in preparation for D-Day.
She was captured by German soldiers, most likely from the 1st battalion of the Deutschland regiment, around mid-day on the 10th of June, 1944, near Salon-la-Tour, while they were searching for one of their missing officers. In R.J. Minney's biography of her, she is described as putting up fierce resistance with her Sten gun. German documents of the incident record no injuries or casualties to German soldiers. She was transferred to the SD in Limoges.
She was interrogated under torture, then sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp where she was forced into hard labour and suffered terribly from malnutrition and exhaustion.
Violette Szabo was executed by the Germans on or about February 5, 1945 and her body disposed of in the crematorium.

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