Author(s): Caroline Moorehead
On an icy dawn morning in Paris in January 1943, a group of 230 French women resisters were rounded up from the Gestapo detention camps and sent on a train to Auschwitz - the only train, in the four years of German occupation, to take women of the resistance to a death camp. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15, the eldest a farmer's wife of 68; there were among them teachers, biochemists, sales girls, secretaries, housewives and university lecturers. The women turned to one another, finding solace and strength in friendship and shared experience. They supported and cared for one another, worked together, and faced the horror together. Friendship, almost as much as luck, dictated survival. Forty-nine of them came home. Caroline Moorehead's breathtaking new book is the story of these women - the first time it has been told. It is about who they were, how and why they joined the resistance, how they were captured by the French police and the Gestapo, their journey to Auschwitz and their daily life in the death camps - and about what it was like for the survivors when they returned to France. "A Train in Winter" covers a harrowing part of our history but is, ultimately, a portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and endurance, and of friendship.
A moving and extraordinary book about courage and survival, friendship and endurance - a portrait of ordinary women who faced the horror of war together
"This serious and heartfelt book does deliver on its promise of a tale of how female friendship "can make the difference between living and dying"... Profound" -- Brian Schofield Sunday Times "A harrowing but also uplifting shared story of friendship, courage and endurance" Independent "A story of stunning courage, generosity and hope. They risked their lives to defeat Fascism, by printing subversive literature, hiding Jewish friends or, in the case of one girl, simply insulting a French youth because he had decided to co-operate with the Nazis. The price they paid for their bravery was terrible. A Train in Winter could have been a sad, almost morbid book. In Moorehead's expert hands it is a triumphant one" -- Kathryn Hughes Mail on Sunday "Compassionate, meticulous and compulsively enthralling... This book is essential reading. The litany of names at the end, with their brief biographies (Yolande, Cecile, Poupette, Mitzy, Lucie...) reminds us weeping is not enough. It bears witness - and warns" -- Bel Mooney Daily Mail "Moorehead tells her appalling story in measured prose that sets off perfectly the reader's growing sense of wonder that such heroism is possible" Guardian
Caroline Moorehead is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo and Martha Gellhorn. Well known for her work in human rights, she has published a history of the Red Cross and a book about refugees, Human Cargo. Her most recent book, Dancing to the Precipice, a biography of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, was shorlisted for the Costa Biography Award in 2009. Caroline lives in London.