Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Behind Enemy Lines: The true story of a French Jewish spy in Nazi Germany


Marthe Cohn, present day

Marthe Cohn was a 20-year-old French Jewish girl when the Nazis invaded France in 1940. Her life then took a turn so extraordinary that it could have been pulled straight from a Hollywood movie script.

While the rest of her family fled south Marthe decided to fight back. After graduating from nursing school she joined the French resistance and, because of her perfect German accent and Aryan appearance, was recruited to be a spy. Carrying forged identification papers, she infiltrated German territory in the guise of a German nurse desperately searching for a fictional fiancé (by this time her real-life fiancé had been executed by the Nazis).  

During the next year she mingled freely with Nazi troops, on many occasions caring for injured Nazi soldiers in order to maintain her cover. She gathered invaluable information on troop positions which she secretly relayed to Allied commanders. Her intelligence gathering was instrumental in allowing the Allies to break through the Seigfried line and enter German territory 1945, leading to the end of the war.

Marthe Cohn will be sharing her story in the Westin Lake Mary on Thursday, May 12, 7:30 pm.

"We are honored to be hosting Marthe," said Chanshy Majesky, co-director of Chabad North Orlando, the Jewish center coordinating her appearance at the Westin. "We are in the season of Passover which is all about telling our story to the next generation. As the number survivors dwindle, hearing this firsthand account is an opportunity not to be missed."

Marthe Cohn during WWII

"Jewish life thrives today because we stand on the shoulders of giants, Jews like Marthe who stood tall and strong and fought bravely for our values and way of life. I'm sure this evening will inspire us, in the land of the free to stand strong and be sure to pass on these values to our children" added Rabbi Yanky Majesky.

Marthe's book "Behind Enemy Lines" (Penguin Random House) will be for sale and a book signing will take place after the lecture.

The entrance fee is $15. If you register before May 10, 2016 there is an early bird discount of $10. Sponsors of $180 are entitled to 2 tickets and a VIP private meeting with the speaker before the lecture.

For more information and to RSVP please visit wwwJewishNorthOrlando.com or call 407-636-5994.


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