Thursday, August 18, 2011

NZ's greatest war heroine

She may have left New Zealand as a toddler, but we still claim her and she still saw New Zealand as her home until the day she died.
Nancy Wake, who passed away on August 7th at age 98, was nicknamed "white mouse"  for her ability to elude capture during World War II when she helped thousands of downed Allied pilots and Jewish families elude German and Vichy officials to reach the Pyrenees and neutral Spain.
She was living in France when Nazi Germany invaded. She joined the French Resistance and was smuggled into England for specialist training.
In 1944, she was parachuted back into France, where she co-ordinated the efforts of thousands of fighters and fought alongside them.
Wake was at one point number one on the Gestapo's most-wanted list - with an offer of five million francs for anyone who dobbed her in or killed her.
As soon as I read her obituary in the newspaper, I just had to find her biography, and had to visit about eight bookstores in the city before I found it up the coast.
Her story is written by Peter Fitzsimons, who I have heard writes a great biography. I don't really read biographies, only ones I'm absolutely passionate about like John Lennon by Philip Norman, but I'm really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one.
It seems empowered females are becoming the theme of my blog at the moment... yesterday I talked about my role models Audrey Hepburn and Kate Middleton (also the 21st Century's worst role models: Kendra Wilkinson, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton), and I have a feeling Nancy Wake will become one too.
How could she not? Not only was she beautiful, but she could do anything a man could do and more.


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