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The French Resistance Heroine Who Outwitted the Gestapo
Baker & Taylor Investigates the French Resistance member who became a celebrated hero after World War II, but was forty years later accused of being a Nazi informant.
Independent Publishing Group
Brilliant, intensely political, and inseparable for nearly 70 years, Lucie Aubrac and her husband, Raymond, are legendary figures of the French Resistance. Founding leaders of Libération-Sud, one of the most important resistance movements in France, they ran the underground newspaper Libération and served as couriers, arms carriers, and saboteurs. In 1943, when the Gestapo captured and imprisoned Raymond, Lucie engineered a daring plan to rescue him from the clutches of Klaus Barbie, the feared Gestapo chief later known as the “Butcher of Lyon.” When Raymond was arrested again, Lucie mounted a second astonishing rescue, ambushing the prison van that was transporting him.
Secreted out of France with her husband by the Royal Air Force, Lucie arrived in London a heroine. For the post-war generation, the couple embodied the spirit of “the real France”—the one that resisted, and eventually expelled, the Nazis. However, in 1983, Klaus Barbie made the bombshell claim that the Aubracs had become informers in 1943, betraying their comrades. The French press and the couple themselves furiously denounced the allegation, which was also disproven by historians, but Lucie was found “guilty” by many of embellishments and inconsistencies in the tales she weaved around herself.
Who was Lucie Aubrac? What did she really do in 1943? And was she truly the spirit ofla vraie France? Siân Rees’s penetrating account—the first full English-language biography of this extraordinary woman—provides a long-needed corrective to Lucie Aubrac’s own admittedly “impressionistic” memoir and a fascinating exploration of the intersection of history, legend, and mythologizing.