World War II – Women in the Resistance

  • Ambach, Charlotte.  Click here for an interview with her.
  • Atwood, Kathryn J., Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue (Women of Action), 2013. 
  • Batalion, Judy, The Light of Days, The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos, William Morrow, 2021.
  • Bloch, Denise:
  • Purnell, Sonia, A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II.  2020.  “In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and–despite her prosthetic leg–helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.

    Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day.

    Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall–an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman’s fierce persistence helped win the war.”  Available from Amazon, alibris, Penguin Random House, Barnes & Noble.

  • Rossiter, Margaret L. Women in the Resistance, Praeger, 1986.
  • Roosenburg, Henriette: Dutch Resistance.  Member of Fiat Libertas.  See, in particular, her book, The Walls Came Tumbling Down, New York: Akadine Press, 2000, and serialized in The New Yorker Magazine, about here experiences and those of a handful of Dutch women freed from German prison by Russian soldiers and and their journey home.  See also references to her on this website.
  • Stassart, Amanda: For an interview with her, click here.
  • University of Michigan, Margaret Rossiter collection, “Women in the Resistance”:
  • Vigurs, Kate: “Mission France – The True History of the Women of SOE” –
  • Wake, Nancy: “Nancy Wake, Proud Spy and Nazi Foe, Dies at 98,” New York Times obituary:
  • Weitz, Margaret Collins: Sisters in the Resistance; How Women Fought to Free France, 1940-1945. Publisher’s description: “Often moving . . . always fascinating . . . women in the French Resistance is a key subject. Margaret Weitz has gathered personal testimonies . . . and set them in an intelligible context that helps us understand how all French people–men and women–experienced the Nazi occupation.” –Robert Paxton, MellonProfessor of Social Sciences, Columbia University, and author of Vichy, France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940-1944.

    “Compulsive reading . . . a valuable book which vividly portrays the intricacies of resistance within France, written in an easy but serious style.” –Times Literary Supplement (London).

    “An absolutely stunning and compelling chronicle of dauntless courage and unflagging patriotism.” –Booklist.

    “[Margaret Collins Weitz’s] well-researched, thoughtful study. . .has filled a gap in the history of World War II.” –Publishers Weekly.

    “Balancing absorbing narrative and astute analysis, Margaret Collins Weitz has integrated the unsung achievements of women into the history of the French Resistance.” –Carole Fink, Professor of History, The Ohio State University, and author of Marc Bloch: A Life in History.

    “Fifty years after the end of World War II, Sisters in the Resistance renders homage to the courageous women of the French Resistance. It is high time for their contributions to be fully acknowledged, and fortunate indeed that they have found such a sympathetic, scholarly, and lucid chronicler in Margaret Collins Weitz.” –Marilyn Yalom, author of Blood Sisters: The French Revolution in Women’s Memory.”  Available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, AbeBooks.  

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