Sisters in Resistance

Their Stories


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Elizabeth Sloan
Moscow, Idaho

I watched, and bought, this film a few years ago when I had just begun research for my thesis about Cecily Lefort, a courier with the French Resistance who died at Ravensbruck (and my relative.) She is mentioned in one of the comments. Obviously this film means much to me as well. I am always open to new connections to my research, so, though this site does not appear to have been active since 2004, I am adding this comment in hopes to hear from someone. I am encouraged by comments regarding the film "Sisters in Resistance" and the importance of telling "these" stories.

Gladys Swick
Saint Paul Minnesota
I too was so moved by this beautiful story of friendship and courage. I often feel like nothing I can do can make any possible difference, to world wide problems. This film motivates me to try. Thank you.

Caroline Voillot
Vancouver BC
Thank you so much for this wonderful special! It is good to remember and to show the French heroes and heroines who made the success of the allies possible. Even though they loved their country, they didn't act out of blind patriotism but mainly on humanist grounds. They should be role models to all of us. Watching and hearing the story of these remarquable women makes me proud to be French! Thanks again!

John Walling
Seattle, WA
I was so inspired by the documentary "Sisters in Resistance" that I did some research to see who else were sisters in the French resistance. I plan to set up a web page to honor these women.

[I currently have a web page for women heads of state at ]

My list so far:

Andrée Raymonde Borrel 1919-1944 **
Anise Postel-Vinay ++
Berthe Fraser (born Berthe Emilie Vicogne) 1894-
Camille Tauber
Cecily Lefort 1900-1945 **
Denise Madeleine Bloch 1915-1945 **
Diana Hope Rowden (code named Paulette) 1915-1944 **
Elaine Plewman
Francine Escande
Gabrielle Weidner 1914-1945 **
Genevieve de Gaulle Anthonioz ++
Germaine Tillion ++
Jacqueline Pery d'Alincourt ++
Krystyna Skarbek (aka Christine Granville) 1915-1952 **
Lilian Vera Rolfe 1914-1945 **
Madeleine Braun 1907-
Madeleine Marzin
Madeleine Zoe Damerment 1917-1944 **
Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier 1912-
Martha Desrumeaux
Nancy Grace Augusta Wake 1912- **
Noor Inyat Khan 1914-1944 **
Odette Sansom (born Odette
Marie Celine Brailly) 1912-1995 **
Sonya Olschanezky
Suzanne Spaak c.1905-1944 (Belgian)**
Vera Atkins (born Vera Maria Rosenberg) 1908-2000 **
Vera Leigh (born Vera Glass) 1903-1944 **
Violette Szabo 1921-1945 **
Yolande Beekman (born Yolande Elsa Maria Unternahrer) 1911-1944 **
Yvonne Cormeau 1909-1998
Yvonne Dumont

Bob Somers, PhD
Berkeley CA
To my wife's 95-yr-old cousin who has been a very effective peace activist all her life: "Gertrude - I hope you saw the film 'Sisters in Resistance' on KQED-tv last night 11pm-12. It was totally mind-bending; real history; real people who survived to tell the tale; real photographs in an astonishing documentary. I was riveted to it for every one of the 3600 seconds of film, am telling everyone about it, and hope to buy a copy if not too expensive."

Sherri Ottis
Clinton, Mississippi
Mrs. Wechsler,

I misread the page I was on. You did not use my book as a reference, it was listed on the "Learn More" page. I apologize for my confusion.

Sherri Ottis

Sherri Ottis
Clinton, Mississippi
I have not seen your film but was surprised to find that my book, Silent Heroes: Downed Airmen and the French Underground, was one of your references. I am curious as to whether Anise Postel Vinay is related to the Andre Postel Vinay that I wrote about in my book. Could she be the sister who went to pick him up at the train station or a wife?

I thought it interesting that the French people wondered why it had taken an American to do the film because I heard several similar comments when I was working on the book.

Without a doubt, the book was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done because of the people I met who had experienced amazing and terrible things as a result of their resolve to free their country. I can relate to so much of what you said in your interview page.

Congratulations on what appears to be a job well done. I will look for a copy of your film. Sherri

Evelyne Huard-Lindstrom
St. Mary's, Kansas
Thank you for making the wonderful movie Sisters in Resistance. I happened upon it late last night. As I walked into my bedroom, where my husband was watching TV, I heard a woman speaking French. I sat on the edge of the bed and watched, captivated. I already knew a lot about the Nazi Concentration Camps. My father, a French Resistance Fighter, survived 2 1/2 years of Natzweiler - Strudhof and Dachau. He brought us up, making sure that the next generation would know the horrors, atrocities and brutality the Nazis were capable of. Hearing these extraordinary women tell their account of surviving Ravensbruck, brought back many of the stories my father would tell. I cried as I listened to them. I cried as I missed my father who passed away 2 years ago. I wish he had written the book he always promised he would. Maybe someday, when I find the courage to read his notes, I will write it. A very few of his friends are still alive, my mother also remembers so much. The world today needs to know. Daddy often said: "Forgive, Yes. Forget, No." If at all possible, could you please let the surviving women know of our profound admiration for their courage and their will to fight.

Most sincerely,
Evelyne Huard - Lindstrom

Marjorie Allen
Albuquerque, NM
I am so profoundly moved having just watched this beautiful and touching film.... the concept of fraternity, or should I say sorority? Especially in this day when women search their identity in the public eye and often forget their unique gifts that often transcend the generations and create new cultural standards. Even that point was so clearly evidenced in this film by the child who talked about the safety from the such horrors as we humans are capable of creating -- the safety in his mother's womb.... This film stands as a clear and evocative reminder of what women can do to fight injustice and to create a world of peace. These women and this filmmaker show us all what it is about our lives together in this world that we all need to find. I came of age in the 60's and learned then, to fight against injustice, eventually becoming a Buddhist. I have come to realize there is no more sacred quest than the one for justice and no greater means to accomplish it than by emb! racing one another. Thank you so much for sharing this courageous and encouraging story... thank you to all of you.

Lori Brix
Austin, TX, USA
This film was so touching and evocative that I will forever remember a moment in my life that is "bf" (before the film) and "af" (after the film). After viewing this film and seeing the courage of these women, one is inspired to live every moment fully and carry out even the most simple tasks with utmost integrity and humanity. Few of us are ever called on to display such extraordinary courage in our lives. A glimpse into the lives of these special women demands that we honor them by becoming better women ourselves. Thanks to the filmmaker who has so beautifully shared such a poignant story with the viewer. A very intimate film.

Kim Korman Brown
This program stayed with me for days. I felt the courage of the French women, how they risked theirlives, the horror of being arrested, the fear, the sense of doing RIGHT in the midst of danger and evil.

Jennifer Horst
Jackson, MO
Thank you so for this documentary. These women's stories not only gave me greater faith in humanity, but also made me proud to be a woman. The bonds they formed in order to survive their ordeal truly define sisterhood. Again, thank you for their moving stories.

I watched this program this evening, totally enthralled by these women and their stories. Near the end of the program Madame Genevieve de Gaulle Anthonioz says two things, something like: "In the resistance we encountered relative evil, and in the camps we confronted absolute evil." She, or one of the others quotes Andre Malraux as having said, "The only reaction to absolute evil is fraternity."

I would appreciate it if you would give me the exact quotes from the program. These women's story reminded me a bit of the account of life in a Japanese prison camp whose inmates helped to build the infamous Burma Railway which has been made into an as yet unreleased film, "To End All Wars." And the courageous chinese woman in Life and Death in Shanghai who defied her Maoist jailers by constantly asserting her dignity as a human being.

In any case, in this time of relentless French bashing it was refreshing to be reminded of the many French citizens who did not follow their leaders, but resisted the Nazi tyrrany. Thank you for your help. Alan Mack

<< Filmmaker Maia Wechsler's Response >>
Dear Mr. Mack,
Thank you for your interest in my film. Following are the quotes to which you referred:
Germaine Tillion:
" We struggled with relative Evil when we were in the Resistance. In the camps, we were faced with absolute Evil."

And Geneviève de Gaulle Anthonioz:
"Our reaction was described by André Malraux. We all recognize how aptly he put it: 'The only response to absolute Evil is fraternity.'"

You remembered them almost verbatim. My best wishes to you,
Maia Wechsler

I was born in February of 1945, almost at the end of the war, and although I did not experience it directly, feel that it has always been apart of our generation.

I want to thank those who were directly involved in the resistance, for their courage, determination, and their willingness to do the right thing. Society owes them a big debt of gratitude.

I also want to inquire into whether or not, these 4 brave women have co-authored a book together, and if so, is it called as the title suggests "Sisters in Resistance." If so, I will buy it.

I did notice that there are two specific books, one by Tillion and the other I belief, without going back to look at the list,was Genevieve De Gaulle. I learned alot by watching this program. Is it possible that it would be re-aired? Please send me an email in regards to this inquiry. Thank you.
Sandra Shields-Herzstein

<< Filmmaker Maia Wechsler's Response >>
Thank you for your interest in my film. The book to which you refer is not related to my film but is quite wonderful: Sisters in the Resistance: How Women Fought to Free France 1940-1945. I highly recommend it. It is listed on the Independent Lens web site for my film under "Learn More." Best wishes

Jane C. Pomerantz
In this time of increased anti-Semitism and an increase in the number of "deniers" of the Holocaust, it is so important for women like this to tell their story. Thank you for showing the stories of these courageous women, who went from being ordinary women to extraodinary heros.

Ruth Klein
I caught this program "mid-stream" and stood in front of the tv, mesmerized, tears streaming down. I was born in 1946, brought up on stories of escape from wartime Europe told by my parents who met in NY, both having escaped from Hitler's grasp. My father, born in Warsaw, lived in Paris for 20 years, and escaped Paris through unoccupied France in 1942. Stories of the French Resistance were very much a part of my childhood. The word "courage" is from the root word "heart," and the heart/courage of these women is an inspiration of extraordinary depth. Thank-you.

Mary Colvin
Evansville, Indiana
Without a doubt these four remarkable women hold the true values that humanity is seeking now, in our own time of war. I find it amazing that stories as those these friends shared with us are still being uncovered--and I believe there is much more to be learned.

Coming from a generation that is still trying to find its way in this world, I am given great courage and strength from these four witnesses of terror, and am taken aback that such torture thrives on dreams of those with the will to live. My only hope is that I, and those around me, can help in the resistance for peace and life now, and in years to come.

Patricia Dorange
Temple City, California
I want to thank you so much for making this film. It's important for the world to know how brave, self-less and heroic these women were and to understand that it wasn't only the Jews that suffered in Concentration Camps. We owe these people so much for the hope they inspired in the rest of the world when they could have easily stayed home.

My Grandmother Marie-Rose LeCoutey was at Ravensbruck at the same time as Genevieve De Gaulle. She never really talked much about her time in Ravensbruck, but she suffered from its' effects all her life. She joined the French Resistance while a mother of two young children. They were left virtually orphaned in the war for the two years she was there. They also bare the scars. When I would go visit her she always took out an annual from her yearly meeting with other Resistance members and would show me the pictures. She kept her striped prisoner's jacket in the closet and said that the world should never be allowed to forget the horrors of this war. She passed away abo ut 10 years ago. I have only recently started to learn about Ravensbruck and appreciate just how much she sacrificed, her strength and her heroism. I would really like to get in touch with the Association of Resistance Networks in France. Is there an address that I can write to?

Ann L Bayer
Arcata, Ca
Thank you thank you to Maia Wechler and I.L for creating and showing Sisters In Resistance. I was deeply touched by the stories of these four women. I especially appreciated hearing so much of their converstion in French.

Joe Harkins
Jersey City, NJ
This lovely documentary may have satisfied a long-suffered curiousity.

I think met Jacqueline Pery d'Alincour. Until not very long ago, I believe she lived in a house in a cul de sac in a Washington DC suburb. My son, his wife and their children lived across the street. She was away often on visits to France but at least once I encountered her and I'm fairly sure it is the same person in the film.

Everyone in the neighbrhood knew she had done heroic things in the French resistance during the war but she could never be coaxed into speaking of them. If the woman of whom I speak is not Madame d'Alincour then there are more versions of her out there.

Barbara R. Holden
Peabody, MA
What a wonderful program! I am so grateful to PBS for showing it.Both the subject matter and the fact that all the dialogue was in French made it especialy meaningful to me.How I admire those four women! I am their age and was studying French at Colby when they entered the Resistance. Thank you so much for "Sisters in Resstance."


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