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Lucie Aubrac:The French Resistance Heroine Who Outwitted the Gestapo    by Sian Rees order for
Lucie Aubrac
by Sian Rees
Order:  USA  Can
Chicago Review Press, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

A student and radical communist who became a skilled underground operative against the German invaders during World War II in France, Lucie Aubrac's war years read like popular fiction.

In 1943, the young woman helped her husband, Raymond, escape from the German Gestapo and the clutches of the infamous SS officer Klaus Barbie. When Raymond was again captured, Lucie engineered a second rescue, which added injury to insult as far as the Nazis were concerned.

As a founding member and leader of the French Resistance group Liberation-Sud, this indomitable Frenchwoman played a number of roles in the organization and carried out other rescues as well as overseeing attacks on the German occupation forces.

Lauded with her husband as one of the heroes of the French underground movement after the war, in the early 1980s the couple's fortunes reversed when they were accused by Klaus Barbie of being informers and helping France's occupiers.

Utilizing letters, newspaper clippings, and other available archival material, plus interviews, Sian Rees tries to present a balanced picture of his subject. Trying to separate myth from reality and explain Aubrac's motivations and wartime exploits, the author offers a portrait of the woman who was lauded for her efforts and then vilified after Barbie's claim that she betrayed her countrymen.

Eight pages of photos and illustrations accompany the text and help the reader flesh out this entrancing story. As the tale of Lucie Aubrac unfolds, the reader will have to decide for himself/herself the validity of the claim made by Barbie that the woman was really a traitor rather than resistance heroine.

My immediate reaction is that this accusation was just an attempt to smear Aubrac and her husband, but others see the charge differently.

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