From Publishers Weekly
This compelling memoir is testament to how extraordinary circumstances can transform a life-and how an extraordinary person reacts to difficult circumstances. Cohn was a typical French-Jewish teenager when WWII broke out, but as it did for millions of others, the war transformed her life in unimaginable ways. "There was no time to be frightened," she and Holden, a veteran journalist, write. The first part of the book chronicles her family and friends' response to the war. That countless other books have described the effects of the Nazi onslaught-the life-and-death consequences of the unthinkable decisions many were forced to make-makes her descriptions no less powerful and tragic. The narrative turns into a quasi thriller in its second half, depicting how the death of Cohn's fiance led her, now a nurse, to join the Free French forces in the fight to defeat the Nazis. A blonde, fluent German speaker who never mentioned to her superiors that she was a Jew, she went on several life-threatening missions into German territory, earning France's highest military honors. But she describes her actions without self-aggrandizement. What comes through is the importance of courageous individual action in the most dire situations. This is the amazing story of a woman who lived through one of the worst times in human history, losing family members to the Nazis but surviving with her spirit and integrity intact-Cohn now lives in California. 8 pages of b&w photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The courageous Marthe Hoffnung was born in 1920 in the city ofMetz, 33 miles from the Franco-German border. Born into a close-knitJewish family, Marthe and her six brothers and sisters basked in theglow of love, education, and freedom of expression, but darker timesaltered their lives forever when Hitler's machinations reached theperimeters of France to shatter their lives. Marthe's family played anactive role in the Resistance movement, often hiding fellow Jews intheir home or ensuring their passage to an escape route. Thisselflessness would manifest itself further when Marthe joined theFrench army and, with her perfect German accent and blond hair, madeseveral trips into occupied Germany posing as a German nurse lookingfor her fiance in order to obtain critical intelligenceinformation. In 1990, at the age of 80, Marthe was awarded theMedaille Militaire
, France's highest honor. Despite havingplayed a tremendous role in securing vital strategic informationcrucial to ending World War II, Cohn relays her amazing story ofunprecedented bravery with simplicity and modesty. Elsa GaztambideCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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