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Violette Szabo

By Susan Ottaway

The story of Violette Szabo is one of the most extraordinary in the annals of World War II espionage and covert operations.

Totally fearless and a dead shot, Violette Szabo volunteered to become part of the Special Operations Executive, Britain’s premier sabotage and subversion organization of the time. On 7 June 1944, Violette left behind a two-year-old daughter to parachute into France on a special mission.

Szabo and other British agents were assigned to organise French resistance fighters to hinder the advance of the SS Das Reich Division to the Normandy beaches. Unfortunately, Szabo’s party was soon ambushed by the SS.

Unable to walk due to a twisted ankle, Szabo covered the retreat of her comrades with machine-gun fire. Captured, she went through a series of interrogations and changes of confinement before ending up at Ravensbruck, the German all-women’s concentration camp. She was finally executed on 26 January 1945. She was twenty-three years old.

This exceptional work has been written with the assistance of Violette Szabo’s daughter Tanya and unravels fact and fiction about one of the most fascinating characters of World War II.

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