Catherine Finds Her Courage
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Many years later, as Lillian relates her fanciful version of those events, she must find a deeper courage to reveal the truth about her past. Menu Home Blog About me Contact. Excerpt from Chapter 4, The Aerial Queen For those prepared to chance their luck, the s are an opportunity for hucksters and flamboyant theatrical characters to make a name for themselves using illusion and pretence.
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From the late s throughout the s, Caro was a familiar sight at the Les Halles market in central Paris, often arriving at 4 a. Market people who remembered Caro from this time spoke not only of her drive but also of her utmost honesty and probity, a rarely accorded compliment in French business circles at the best of times, especially in the case of women daring to penetrate the glass ceiling that still covers France to this day.
Caro inherited her love of flowers from her mother, Madelaine, remembered for her management of the gardens at the family home, Villa Les Rhumbs, in Normandy. The Dior family came from Granville, a fairly posh resort town on the western Norman seaboard at the foot of the Cherbourg peninsula where the English Channel meets the Atlantic Ocean. By the time Catherine was born in , the Diors had moved to Paris but had kept Les Rhumbs as their family seat and so, Caro was born in Granville.
As for Villa Les Rhumbs, the town of Granville purchased the clifftop villa and its grounds in the s, intending to demolish it. As soon as Caro was old enough, she would visit her brother Christian in Paris.
This interlude ended when Christian Dior was called up after the declaration of war in September He had previously completed his year of military service in and with the Fifth Engineer Regiment in Versailles, conveniently close to Paris. Dior did not return to Paris until the end of but stayed in the Unoccupied Zone of France where he often stayed at the family home in Callian.
George Papillault, Baron des Charbonneries, was married with three young children but he and his wife, Lucie, seem to have had something of an open marriage. His wife Lucie is listed as joining on May 1 st , and Caro a couple of months later on July 1 st , Caro is sometimes described as having served with the Massif Central network as a courier and intelligence-gatherer.
A Sister's Courage
Set up in the summer of by Polish military intelligence officers in exile in France and Britain in collaboration with their British counterparts in London and French patriots, was the first functioning French Resistance intelligence-gathering network. Eighty-five F2 agents had been killed and deported, including Catherine Dior. By the summer of , German and Vichy security forces had successfully infiltrated networks like F2 in Southern France, where the spy game was growing in intensity and barbarity in anticipation of the expected Allied invasion of Provence.
Some say that she received F2 contacts there, but this is unlikely for a number of reasons, one being that the French-staffed Gestapo unit that captured Caro on July 6, ignored her brother. In the four months before they fled Paris on August 17 th , , heading east toward Germany, they inflicted serious damage on the Resistance, arresting over agents.
A Sister's Courage by Catherine King - Books - Hachette Australia
One hundred and sixty-three were deported to Nazi concentration camps and died in various ways, including 60 who were shot to death. Berger and his henchmen were either very efficient counter-insurgency operatives or very well-informed by traitors.
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During World War II, Allied secret services reckoned that even the toughest of agents would break after 24 hours of German-style interrogation. During World War II, Allied secret services reckoned that most agents would break after 24 hours of German-style interrogation.
The French SD men tended if anything to be crueler than their German colleagues and softening-up treatment often began with savage beatings and other forms of assault regardless of the age and gender of their victims before the professional interrogators started asking questions. Other prisoners said that Desbordes did not break.
Nor did Catherine Dior.