Violette Szabo

Project 26 of 74

Violette Szabo - spymuseum.comBorn in Paris in 1922 to a British taxi fleet owner and French mother, Violette Bushell was raised in Britain and married at a young age, but lost her husband when he was killed fighting against the Germans, leavings behind a young daughter.

Violette, a skilled shot with a rifle who could speak French fluently, was recruited into the SOE by Selwyn Jepson. A Raven-haired beauty, Szabo was considered a great candidate to work with the French underground. Her superiors, however, were greatly concerned with her urgent desire to put herself in danger, possibly a psychological reaction to her husband’s death. They worried that she risked her life with a suicidal passion but they assigned her nonetheless.

Szabo flew through her training with merit and was placed with a former Havas news correspondent named Phillippe Liewer. She was dropped by parachute into France and was assigned to determine how many resistance forces were in place. She established communications between underground leaders and British intelligence forces. Making back to England, she was arrested twice by French gendarmes but was able to talk her way out of trouble and made her was to safety.

Upon reaching England, Szabo immediately sought another assignment, and although reluctant, her handlers sent her back into France. She passed along vital information to the French underground but was interrupted in one meeting when a German patrol discovered their meeting in a farmhouse. As one of the French resistance leaders fled, Szabo provided cover for him, shooting several German soldiers with a Sten gun. Eventually her gun ran out and she was taken into custody.



Violette Szabo - spymuseum.comViolette was taken to the Gestapo headquarters where she was raped repeated and tortured. Despite the cruelty she refused to provide any information and was subsequently sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Upon reaching the camp she was subjected to more brutal torture but again refused to talk to her captors, thus establishing her reputation for courage and bravery. After growing frustrated with her refusals, the Gestapo executed Violette in April 1945. In January 1947, she was posthumously awarded the George Cross by the British government acknowledging her valor.


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1 comment:

DebbieDecember 30, 2013 at 8:48 pmReply

Please note, the top picture on this page is of Odette Sansom Hallowes, not of Violette Szabo.