Behind the Green Gates

Feline doppelganger observes and comments on war, literature, sex, mankind, biology, Afghanistan,
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Monday, August 5, 2013

The Last Train

A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead is the troubling story of 230 women of the French Resistance who were eventually sent to Auschwitz and of whom only 49 returing -barely alive and to live out their lives in ill health and severe depression. Beginning as a lusty tale of the French Resistance, mainly perpetuated by the Communists who were already well organized and who were used to operating clandestinely, the men were eventually imprisoned, tortured and shot while the women were imprisoned by the French who took to German brutality with a vengeance, then transported east into the camps set up for the Jews. Those who survived did so by sheer will and by taking care of each other, hiding those who were too sick to work and figuring out quickly such survival techniques such as waiting for the last ration of soup, upon which the vegetables and meat sank to the bottom. Their misery is hardly ameliorated by watching the Jewish and Polish women perish by the thousands as they were often caught up in the same round ups. These women emerged not as heroes as the French often failed to recognize the women who "did little more" than spread newsletters about in spite of the great impact these newsletters had on the Resistance. They came home to a country which did not want to talk about a war which had ended a year earlier for them and thus the camaraderie they had built up and which kept them alive died with them.

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