They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives - a singer at the Paris Opera, a midwife, a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, spirited Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15 who scrawled “V” for victory on the walls of her lycée; the eldest, a farmer’s wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to one another, hailing from villages and cities from across France, these brave women were united in hatred and defiance of their Nazi occupiers.
Eventually the Gestapo hunted down 230 of these women and imprisoned them in a fort outside Paris. Separated from home and loved ones, these disparate individuals turned to one another, their common experience conquering divisions of age, education, profession, and class as they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie. In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only 49 would return to France.
A Train in Winter draws on interviews with these women and their families; German, French, and Polish archives; and World War II resistance organization documents to uncover a dark chapter of history that offers an inspiring portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and survival, and of the remarkable, enduring power of female friendship.
©2011 Caroline Moorehead (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“By turns heartbreaking and inspiring.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Compelling and moving.…The literature of wartime France and the Holocaust is by now so vast as to confound the imagination, but when a book as good as this comes along, we are reminded that there is always room for something new…A necessary book.” (Washington Post)
“[A] moving novelistic portrait.…An inspiring and fascinating read.” (People)
Enjoyable? Maybe not. But a hard look into our history and real life is inescapable in this book. If you're looking for a light and entertaining experience, this isn't it. But if you want to look into a period of our history that is unbelievable, this IS it. If you want to be drawn into the experience of a group of beautiful women who loved and supported each other through absolutely unimaginable circumstances, this IS it. We just have no idea. If you want to know what true love (not romantic love) is all about, this is your book.
Hang in there. Initially, I thought I would never get used to the narrator's voice, but I did. And the first part of the book is tedious--building the characters and giving the history. When you get further into the book, you absolutely won't want to put it down because those women have become your friends.
Initially I found it hard to deal with her accent.
all of them are survivors
my mom was born in 1926 in France and was forced Labor she was from Alsace Lorraine.
I was interested in the women as a group, but found the listing of the all by name boring.
I finished the book, and found I had learnt a few things that deepened my understanding of the war and what it was like to be a victim and then a survivor of a Nazi camp. One thing that struck me was how filthy the camps were, and how the woman were given clothing that was already covered in blood and excrement.Another thing I had not considered before was what it was like for camp survivors when they returned to France; and how little sympathy they received for their suffering.So I am very glad I listened to this book.
Not starting off with endless, boring details about too many characters in the beginning. Too many characters with similar sounding names is hard to keep track of and frankly, I didn't care that much about their detailed back stories. I just wanted to know how they survived the concentration camp experience. It took foreeeeeeeever to get there.
Once there, it was riveting. Really brought home the importance of community and friendships in survival. They couldn't have done it alone without the support of each other. And even then.....not all made it through.
The boring beginning. Took forever to get to the meat of the story.
Say something about yourself!
This is a very good book! It is a scholarly work, well researched and well written. I find the narration to be top drawer with beautiful French pronunciation, very good German. I would not discourage younger people from listening. All this bad stuff really happened. It could happen again. My mother was living in Los Angeles and expecting me when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. She had already lost one baby. There was fear the Japanese would come on over and bomb the Mainland. Eggs and butter and gasoline were rationed when I was little. I was a "war baby." I didn't have rubber pants because rubber went for the war effort. . . . Part of my legacy is a set of recipe cards written in German from when my dad quit high school and got on a ship to sow some wild oats. He worked in the galley of course. His ship was in and out of Hamburg. He even had a Schatzie who continued to write to him even after he had married my mother! . . . I took French in high school and German in junior college. At age 20 I took a student tour which included a visit to Dachau before it was prettied up. I was chastened by the experience and told myself nobody must ever get that much power ever again. So, I come from that time. I was stationed in Germany and later Spain. American military people take their religious retreats at the General Walker Hotel on the site of Hitler's Platterhof Hotel down in Bavaria -- gorgeous yodel country! I have met and loved at least two people who carried numbers on their arms -- Hitler's bleeping bar code! Shocking! And both of them flirted with me! Oh, God bless!
I could not find the friendship of the women -- definitely an upper -- balancing out all the arrogance and shocking unfair treatment perpetrated not only by the Germans but by the many French who cooperated! That was an eye-opener. When the women got on the train and the urine buckets began to overflow but then froze, something snapped for me.
Once again Audible has let the listener down by not making available the pictures, charts and maps that came with the print book. No thanks, Audible! Seems like there should be a way.
Tell me about a good book. No other gifts necessary.
This book , which is based on authentic documents, diaries, and accounts of World War II, is the retelling of events that are not widely known. It is the story of a group of women and their survival through commitment to cause and their loyalty to one another. The historical sources used to recount the stories are dense, so this is not light reading. The women's confinement at Buckenwald Prison is recounted in excruciating detail, so much so that I skipped through a chapter or two. The ways in which their traumas affected their lives after the war were poignantly presented also. The voices of these heroic women will be with me for the rest of my life.
The narrator did a fine job with this historical material, but still sensitively conveyed the emotions found in diary entries. The story was well told.
But after all the WWII books, fiction and non-fiction, I've read, I expect a new book about the camps and the war to bring something new to the table. It didn't. Re-reading Sophie's Choice is so much more rewarding.
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