News Category: Breaking News
article written by, Anastasiya, a news team contributor
Violette Szabo earned her place as one of the bravest women in history as a secret agent in occupied France during WWII. Daughter of an Englishman and a French dressmaker, Violette was born in France and moved to England at the age of 12. Growing up in a competitive environment and surrounded by four brothers, she was athletic, never let the bullies have an upper hand at school, and knew how to shoot thanks to her dad. At the age of 14, she started working as a shop assistant after leaving school and, compared to her exciting teenage years, she unsurprisingly found the job a bit dull. When World War II first unraveled in 1939, she was unbothered, but this changed when her homeland France was occupied. She decided to join the Land Army, volunteers who “dug for victory” by growing food for soldiers. This was also the place where she met her husband with whom she had a wonderful daughter with, but due to the unfortunate turn of events in a battle, he was wounded and she vowed to avenge his death.
She couldn’t have predicted what would happen when she went into the war pension meeting to financially compensate for the loss of her husband. Surprisingly enough, she was recruited by the top-secret network of agents trained to spy on and interfere with German plans. Along with other women she learned to use a radio, parachutes, a variety of weapons, and undercover survival. She was beloved for her sense of humor and bravery by other recruits, and her first mission in Rouen was a huge success with her report of the arrest of 100 Resistance members, details of German factories, and even managing to squeeze in a shopping spree to get a gift for her daughter.
On June 8th, 1944, two days after D-day, she was on another mission helping the Allies by disrupting the enemy’s lines of communication. Within days, however, she was discovered and captured at a German roadblock but not before a fierce fight, helping two of her co-workers escape. Even the officers in charge of the roadblock described her as the bravest woman he had ever seen. Although she was tortured for days and taken to a prisoner-of-war camp, she refused to share any details about her mission. Sadly, she was executed in 1945, and only after the war had ended was her commanding officer finally found out what happened to the former secret agent. The unbelievable amount of bravery Violette had helped tremendously throughout the war and allowed others to raise their children in peace.
For all of her accomplishments as a secret agent, Violette became only the second woman to be awarded the George Cross, the UK’s highest civilian award for valor. Bravery comes in many different forms in addition to fighting in wars, and I hope her story serves as an inspiration to think about what bravery means to you.
This information about Violette Szabo was accessed through the Teen Breathe Magazine.
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