S: Violette Szabo, a Woman of Courage
FC: V I O L E T T E S Z A B O
1: Violette married Captain Etienne Szabo on August 21st, 1940. She was 19 years old. | The Szabos had a daughter named Tania. She was born in June of 1942. However, on October 24th, 1942, in the battle at El Alamein, Etienne died. His death sparked Violette's involvement in the war.
2: Violette left for her first assignment after joining the S.O.E. (or the Special Operations Executive) when her daughter was only three years old. She was sent to Rouen, and successfully contacted Resistance workers who were hiding from the Gestapo. | Violette left for her second assignment on June 6th, 1944 (D-Day). She parachuted into Limoges. On June 10th, when she was traveling with a co-worker called Anastasie, she was captured.
3: On June 12th she was moved to Fresnes prison a couple of days before a rescue attempt was planned. | On her 23rd birthday, there was a raid on the train Violette was riding in. Even though she was chained to another woman, she went right into the danger and brought water to the male prisoners.
4: On August 10th, Szabo was taken to the Gestapo headquarters at Strasbourg, and then she was sent to the Saabrucken prison camp. | The day after her 4th wedding anniversary, Violette was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp.
5: A few days later a woman named Hortense Daman came to the camp. She and Violette both spoke French, and they developed a friendship. When Hortense had entered the camp, they doctors had injected her with a disease that gave her gangrene and created holes in her legs. Szabo took care of her and gave up her bed for Daman. Hortense died in 1994.
6: On September 3rd Violette was sent to work in an aircraft factory at Torgau.
7: 10-20 days later: She had plans to escape, as well as a key out of the camp. However, one of the other prisoners talked and she was forced to dispose of the key in order to clear her name to the Gestapo.
8: On October 5th she was returned to Ravensbruck.
9: Violette was sent to Konigsberg on the Russian Front on October 19th.
10: Szabo was returned to Ravensbruck for the last time on January 21st. She knew that her life was close to an end because the Gestapo gave her nice clothes and soap for this return journey.
11: On January 28th, 1945, at 7p.m. Violette and two of her friends were taken outside by the crematorium, shot in the back of the neck and burned. She was only 23 years old.
12: On Violette's second assignment, she was stopped by the Gestapo along with her partner. She was shot in the arm, and encouraged her partner to run and save himself. Her partner had escaped to a nearby farm and hid under the woodpile. Violette helped to hide him from the police from sitting on top of the woodpile. She was captured and was never free again.
13: Violette Szabo was a spy for the Allies in World War II because of her fluency in French and because she was a young, influential beauty. | A grocer's shop in Sussac where Violette and her comrades stayed after her parachute jump for one of her missions.
14: Szabo was subjected to torture and solitary confinement throughout her time in concentration camps leading up to her death, but she never revealed confidential information to the Gestapo.
15: This is the car that Violette was said to be riding in the day she was captured by the Nazis. | Ms. Szabo ran from many German soldiers, killed and wounded a few, and was shot in the arm. She was not caught until she collapsed under this tree.
16: This is an article heading documenting the medals that Violette was awarded after her death for her brave service to the Allies.
17: Within the camps, numerous torture devices were used to gain information from political prisoners. With this one, the hands and feet are bound and the prisoner is whipped while naked. | After Violette and her two friends were shot in the back of the neck, their bodies were burned in the Ravensbruck crematoriums.
18: This article was written to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Violette Szabo's heroic deeds in World War II.
19: This poem entitled "The Life That I Have", was written by Leo Marks, but when Violette approached Leo needing a code for her work, he gave her this poem.
20: My Darling Etienne, Come home to me! Our daughter is beautiful. I named her Tania, just like you wanted, and I have never anything more magical in my arms than her. She has your smile, darling. Please be safe, and come home to us soon. We need you. I love you. Your Love, Violette
21: Tania, You are my baby girl, and I will always love you. I have to go away for a little while, but we will see each other soon my angel. When you grow up nice and strong, you will understand, but for now just know that I love you. Even when I am not there to hold you, I am watching over you. I am sorry I was not there for you as much as a mother should have been, but I love you with all my heart. All my love, Your mother
22: Violette's ID card in 1944.
23: This is the Royal scroll that awarded Violette the George Cross.
24: Violette was awarded two metals after her death, one being the George Cross. The George Cross is one of the highest medals in the United Kingdom, and recognizes great military work against the enemy.
25: The Croix de Guerre is a war medal used in France and Belgium. It is given for acts of heroism, and was awarded to Violette. Her daughter Tania received the medal after her mother's death in 1946.
27: 1. Szabo, Tania. Violette Szabó, George Cross. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2010.