Code Name Christiane Clouet: A Woman in the French Resistance

Claire Chevrillon, Author, Jane K. Stott, Translator
Claire Chevrillon, Author, Jane K. Stott, Translator Texas A&M University Press $35 (221p) ISBN 978-0-89096-628-0
Paperback - 221 pages - 978-0-89096-629-7
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A witness to the bleak fate of French Jewry in Nazi-dominated France, this remarkable author recounts her experiences from 1939 to 1945 in a personal though emotionally reserved way that makes her family's tragedies particularly poignant. Her parents were upper-class, assimilated Jews; her father, Andre Chevrillon, was a member of the French Academy, a man Edith Wharton called ``the first literary critic in France.'' An English teacher in Paris when war broke out, Claire gives abundant details about the first days of the occupation, when France became a nation divided between the Petainists and those less willing to accommodate Hitler's designs. In 1942, as repressive laws limited Jewish freedom (Claire's mother was effectively imprisoned by her fear of leaving home wearing the yellow star), as her brother-in-law languished in a POW camp and her cousins were persecuted and eventually deported, Chevrillon joined the resistance, first in air operations and then in the code service, where she encoded and decoded messages between the free French government in London and de Gaulle's Paris delegation. Chevrillon, who had contact with some of the most prominent members of the resistance, was betrayed in 1943 and spent four harrowing months in prison. The author's goal was ``to set forward the facts... not to analyze myself or my characters.'' But her story, told without elaboration, is as dramatic and compelling as any fiction. Illustrations. (May)
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