In Honoured Memory of:
Violette Szabo (Codename: Louise)
Lilian Rolfe (Codename: Nadine)
Denise Bloch (Codename: Ambroise)
All three of these women were Agents of The British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and all three were murdered on February 5th, 1945 at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, by order of The Gestapo.
Violette Szabo was 23 years of age when she was murdered by cowardly uniformed SS thugs. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Etienne who was killed in action at The Battle of El Alamein. The death in combat of her husband spurred Violette, who was already a uniformed member of the ATS, (Auxilliary Territorail Service) to join the The SOE.
Violette's first mission behind German lines in France ended successfully, she had managed to re-establish a resistance network that had previously been dismantled by the Germans. The group she led actively sabotaged road and railway bridges and her radio messages to London pinpointing factories that were producing war material for the Germans were used by The RAF and USAAF to plan bombing raids that hindered the German war effort.
Her second mission ended in her capture by The SS. She was inserted behind German lines in France, on June 7 1944, one day after D-Day. She immediately organized the local Maquis (resistance) into sabotaging German communications lines, hindering the German attempt to co-ordinate a counter-attack in Normandy. Shortly thereafter she was captured at a road block around mid day on June 10th, 1944.
Violette was turned over to The SD (Sicherheitsdienst, the Security Service of The SS and closely affiliated with The Gestapo) in Limoges, France. She was interrogated for four days. From there Violette was transferred to Paris, and handed over to The Gestapo. She was interrogated, tortured, abused in the most heinous of ways . . . and told the Gestapo nothing! She betrayed no one. In August of 1944 she was transferred to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany. She endured hard labour and starvation until February 5, 1944. The allies were coming, the Germans were panicked and trying to erase as much as possible. Violette was murdered, then disposed of in the creamatorium.
Lilian Rolfe was a member of the WAAF (Women's Auxilliary Air Force) in Britain. From there she was recruited into the SOE. She was parachuted into Occupied France on April 5th, 1944; near the city of Orleans. Lilian was a radio operator, who transmitted vital intelligence from behind enemy lines to London. She co-ordinated weapons and supply drops and reported on German and collaborationist activities. In addition, Lilian actively participated in direct action sabotage and combat operations against the Germans. Lilian was captured on July 31st, 1944. She had been betrayed to the Gestapo.
Lilian was immediately taken to Paris, where she was brutally tortured and interrogated until August of 1944. In common with her SOE compatriots, Gestapo records show Lilian did not break. She endured all that was done to her, but refused to betray anyone or anything. In late August 1944 Lilian was transferred to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany. She endured hard labour and privation until she was murdered by the SS on February 5th, 1945. At the time Lilian was so weak she could not walk. After shooting her, the Germans had Lilian's body burned in the creamatorium at Ravensbruck. Lilian Rolfe was 30 years old when she was murdered by the cowards of the SS.
Denise Madeleine Bloch was 29 years old when she was murdered by the SS at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp on February 5th, 1945. Denise was a French Jew recruited into the SOE in France. In 1942 her entire family, being Jewish, were rounded up by the Gestapo (with willing assistance from the French Police) and shipped off to their deaths. Denise started in 1942 as a member of the resistance and began working with SOE Agent Brian Stonehouse, until his arrest; at which time she went into hiding. Denise re-emerged into the fight in early 1943. After a short while, it was decided Denise would be sent to England for complete training as an SOE Agent. She walked, on foot, over The Pyrenees Mountains and on to Gibralter. From there she was flown to London, and training.
Denise parachuted back into France, after her training, on March 2nd, 1944. She was active in operations against the Germans in the Nantes area, until her capture in June of 1944. She was tortured and interrogated mercilessly by the Gestapo. As the others, Denise did not break, she did not betray her network, nor anyone else, to the Germans. Denise was shipped to Germany, where she was transferred between prisons in Germany, specifically Torgau and Konigsberg, where she was subject to hardship, malnutrition and exposure to the cold.
She was eventually sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. This is where she was murdered on February 5th, 1945; by the SS. Denise's remains were burned in the camp's creamatorium.
Their names liveth forevermore!
On this the 67th anniversary of their murders, take a moment to remember these 3 brave women who made a stand when it counted most!
REMEMBER - SOUVIENS TOI
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