A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of by Sarah Helm

By Sarah Helm

From an award-winning journalist comes this real-life cloak-and-dagger story of Vera Atkins, one among Britain’s most desirable mystery brokers in the course of global warfare II. 
As the top of the French part of the British particular Operations government, Vera Atkins recruited, proficient, and mentored particular operatives whose activity was once to prepare and arm the resistance in Nazi-occupied France. After the struggle, Atkins courageously devoted herself to a perilous look for twelve of her so much adored girls spies who had long gone lacking in motion. Drawing on formerly unavailable resources, Sarah Helm chronicles Atkins’s impressive existence and her singular trip throughout the chaos of post-war Europe. Brimming with intrigue, heroics, honor, and the horrors of struggle, A existence in Secrets is the tale of a grand, elusive lady and a travel de strength of investigative journalism.

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Sample text

Hiding themselves as best they could, with aerials strung up in attics or disguised as washing lines, they tapped out Morse on the keys of transmitters, often for hours and usually alone, as they waited for a signal in reply saying the messages were received. If they stayed on the air for more than twenty minutes, their signals were likely to be picked up by the enemy, and detection vans would then trace the source of these suspect signals. When the signaller moved location, the bulky transmitter had to be carried, sometimes hidden in a suitcase or in a bundle of firewood.

Sarah Helm is the recipient of the British Press Award of Specialist Writer of the Year and the Laurence Stern Fellowship by The Washington Post. She lives in London, England. TO MY PARENTS CONTENTS Acknowledgements List of Characters Prologue PART I: ENGLAND 1 Nora 2 Disaster 3 Thanks from the Gestapo 4 Traces 5 “Need to Know” 6 “Buchenwald Boys” 7 Euston Station 8 “Gestapo Boys” PART II: ROMANIA 9 Confidantes 10 The Danube Delta 11 Crasna 12 A Mountain Picnic 13 Spy Gents PART III: GERMANY 14 A Woman in Blue 15 Following Tracks 16 Into the Wilderness 17 The Villa Degler 18 Natzweiler 19 “Freely on Foot” 20 Dr.

I pulled out a flimsy piece of brown paper. It was a statement made by Franz Berg, a crematorium stoker, who had witnessed the killing of women agents in the Natzweiler concentration camp. I knelt on the floor to read. At the end of the statement, I saw that Berg had been interrogated by Squadron Officer Vera Atkins in April 1946. There was a tapping on the door. Phoebe was standing there, pointing at her watch. “We're off to the Tinners for lunch,” she said. Her daughter Zenna, aged thirty-six, and her two children had just arrived for a visit.

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