February 5th, 2010 Headsman
Left to right: Denise Bloch, Lilian Rolfe, Violette Szabo.
Denise Bloch, Lilian Rolfe, and Violette Szabo were all fluent young Francophones who volunteered their services for Britain’s dangerous spying-and-sabotage operations in support of the French Resistance.
Bloch and Rolfe were wireless operators; Szabo, the most famous of the three, got her hands dirtier with explosives and sabotage.
One evening towards 1900 hours they were called out [of the punishment block] and taken to the courtyard by the crematorium. Camp Commandant Suhren [German Wikipedia link] made these arrangements. He read out the order for their shooting in the presence of the chief camp doctor, Dr. Trommer, SS Sergeant Zappe, SS Lance Corporal Schult, SS Corporal Schenk, and the dentist Dr. Hellinger
All three were very brave, and I was deeply moved. Suhren was also impressed by the bearing of these women. He was annoyed that the Gestapo did not themselves carry out these shootings.
Violette Szabo in particular was much written-of after the war (long out of print, the classic Carve Her Name With Pride was recently republished), and was posthumously awarded a variety of decorations by both England and France.
Szabo has what looks to be a charming museum in Herefordshire (phone ahead to Miss Rigby before visiting!); for a younger generation, she’s the inspiration behind “Violette Summers”, the protagonist of the video game Velvet Assassin.
On this day..
- 1717: Anna Maria Wagemann, the last witch burned at Fürfeld - 2017
- 1886: Dennis Dilda - 2016
- 1601: Starina Novak, hajduk - 2015
- 1999: Leo Echegaray, by lethal injection in the Philippines - 2014
- 10 executions that defined the 1970s - 2013
- 1862: Samuel Calhoun, antebellum serial killer - 2013
- 1860: John Guthrie, antislavery horse thief - 2012
- Feast Day of St. Agatha - 2011
- 1894: Auguste Vaillant, bomb-throwing anarchist - 2009
- 1597: The 26 Martyrs of Japan, for God and trade routes - 2008
Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Concentration Camps,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,England,Espionage,Execution,Famous,France,Germany,History,Jews,No Formal Charge,Shot,Soldiers,Spies,Summary Executions,Torture,Uncertain Dates,Wartime Executions,Women
Tags: 1940s, 1945, denise bloch, fascism, february 5, french resistance, fritz suhren, lilian rolfe, ravensbruck, soe, special operations executive, velvet assassin, video games, violette szabo, world war ii