A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Survival in World War Two: An…

by Caroline Moorehead

Random House of Canada | November 1, 2011 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Survival in World War Two: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Survival is rated 4.4167 out of 5 by 12.

“How can you do this work if you have a child?” asked her mother.

“It is because I have a child that I do it,” replied Cecile. “This is not a world I wish her to grow up in.”

On January 24, 1943, 230 women were placed in four cattle trucks on a train in Compiegne, in northeastern France, and the doors bolted shut for the journey to Auschwitz. They were members of the French Resistance, ranging in age from teenagers to the elderly, women who before the war had been doctors, farmers’ wives, secretaries, biochemists, schoolgirls. With immense courage they had taken up arms against a brutal occupying force; now their friendship would give them strength as they experienced unimaginable horrors. Only forty-nine of the Convoi des 31000 would return from the camps in the east; within ten years, a third of these survivors would be dead too, broken by what they had lived through. In this vitally important book, Caroline Moorehead tells the whole story of the 230 women on the train, for the first time. Based on interviews with the few remaining survivors, together with extensive research in French and Polish archives, A Train in Winter is an essential historical document told with the clarity and impact of a great novel.

Caroline Moorehead follows the women from the beginning, starting with the disorganized, youthful and high-spirited activists who came together with the Occupation, and chronicling their links with the underground intellectual newspapers and Communist cells that formed soon afterwards. Postering and graffiti grew into sabotage and armed attacks, and the Nazis responded with vicious acts of mass reprisal – which in turn led to the Resistance coalescing and developing. Moorehead chronicles the women’s roles in victories and defeats, their narrow escapes and their capture at the hands of French police eager to assist their Nazi overseers to deport Jews, resisters, Communists and others. Their story moves inevitably through to its horrifying last chapters in Auschwitz: murder, starvation, disease and the desperate struggle to survive. But, as Moorehead notes, even in the most inhuman of places, the women of the Convoi could find moments of human grace in their companionship: “So close did each of the women feel to the others, that to die oneself would be no worse than to see one of the others die.”

Uncovering a story that has hitherto never been told, Caroline Moorehead exhibits the skills that have made her an acclaimed biographer and historian. In this book she places the reader utterly in the world of wartime France, casting light on what it was like to experience horrific terrors and face impossible moral dilemmas. Through the sensitive interviews on which the book is based, she tells personal and individual stories of courage, solace and companionship. In this way, A Train in Winter ultimately becomes a valuable memorial to a unique group of heroines, and a testimony to the particular power of women’s friendship even in the worst places on earth.




From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: November 1, 2011

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307366677

ISBN - 13: 9780307366672

Found in: History

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shocking and eye opening I am about 3/4 through the book and have a hard time putting it down. I was expecting a "story" type read and this is a history type book , but oh, so worth the read. Even though it does not give graphic details you get a very good sense of what is happening. It is hard to believe any human being could be that cruel or that anyone could survive the treatment. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history of WWII.
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a great book to read ! I finished reading the book a week ago and it's still haunting me. The first part of the book was a bit confusing with many names and places. The second part however got more interesting and heartwrenching. I couldn't put down the book. It is a really good book.
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a train in winter I have not read the book.It sounded very interesting so I bought it for my sister for her birthday coming up
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Train in Winter I bought this book along with four others and I have just finished reading the first four books and have just started A Train in Winter. From the first introductory page, it got my attention and I know that I am going to find this a very good read. That is important to be "grabbed" right at the beginning because you know you are not going to put the book aside. I am going to read it and enjoy it.
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional Reality This book was amazing. Very emotional and lots of sadness throughout, but if you're looking for a true account of what happened to many women (and men) during the Holocaust through a vivid and courageous narrative then please read this book. I am so glad I did.
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great history of the French Resistance The young people who fought back when the Nazis and the Vichy took over France, tells a tale of bravery and the belief in freedom for all, is astounding. This is a book filled with history and the back ground of each women in this situation; it does tend to be very full of facts that some might find 'non essential', please do not think so - one must have the background in order to understand the reason behind why these women did what they did. This is a book many should be reading to better understand what happened during this period in time, as the saying goes, 'history has a tendency to repeat itself', so take what you learn from this book and put it into today's issues, there are similarities. I enjoyed the book - it is not one that you can read all at once, but to be digested and mulled over as you learn the why's, what and how humans can both be courageous and cruel to each other.
Date published: 2014-09-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Nothing like the books description. I did not enjoy this book at all. I was expecting an uplifting story about courageous women; but instead got a history lesson and SO many names it boggled my mind and I gave up trying to keep them all straight.
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible To Stacygemma, it is disturbing in as much as one finds it incredible that another human being is capable of so much insensitivity and cruelty to another human being. The detail is not gratuitous but enough necessary detail not to leave one wondering how horrid things were. What prevails in ones mind is more admiration for the women than the cruelty of their captures. I hope you decide to read it.
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible A most harrowing tale about life in the death camps during WWII. It is rare to find such an eloquently 'first hand' portrayal of what life was really like. About a truly inspiring group of women, who showed such courage under such awful conditions and circumstances. It portrays how circumstances created by war can bring out the very best and the very worst in people. An incredibly well written piece of work. It left me disturbed by the treatment of the guards and yet so moved and inspired by the women.
Date published: 2014-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye Opening Although the first part of the book is hard to get into, it becomes an amazing account of strong women who endured such heartache and unbelievable torture during World War II and lived to tell about it. It will educate you about the horrors of war. I had no idea that so many countries and so many women were affected so deeply. It will make you truly grateful for your life. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2014-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read I loved this book from the beginning. I never realized this went on in France and that france worked with the Nazi's in the 2nd workd war. I do not know how these women had the strength to live thru the hardships and the killings they seen. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Date published: 2014-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A life changing read It's the story of French women, most who worked for, or were accused of working for the Resistance during the Nazi occupation during World War II. They were all imprisoned and locked in cattle cars on trains to Auschwitz. There experiences are told in vivid detail, and of the 230 women imprisoned in the Nazi extermination camp, only 49 made it home alive. It seems amazing that even that many women survived because it seems like death was around every corner. There was a constant risk of being sent to the gas chambers, being beaten by SS guards or mauled by their dogs, disease, unsanitary conditions, and the constant danger posed by lack of food and water as well as the lack of clothing to protect against the brutal elements. The frienships between them all was there one saving grace. While imprisoned they helped each other to survive by not only supporting each other, but by sharing there small amounts of food, water and medicine, as well as hiding the sick who would have been sent to the gas chambers. This is the story of unbearable suffering, but also of unbelievable bravery. The one part I found most informative was the description of the women's life after their release from the camps at the end of the war. Their painful experiences continued even when home. A lot of people were not interested in their stories, or downright disbelieved them because they couldn't fathom how they could have survived those conditions. There was little support and most suffered from many physical and emotional ailments for the rest of their lives. They were given very little recognition for the parts they played in the Resistance, most of the awards and recognition given to the surviving men. France was more concerned about how they looked politically etc, not taking responsibility or wanting to admit culpability. Jewish people were still treated horribly as well for a long time after the war was over. Many of the survivors felt like parts of themselves had died and been left in Aushwitz. I will never forget the stories of these women, and of the many other men and women who experienced the same. I only hope that a lesson was learned and such a travesty as those concentration camps is never repeated. May both the dead and the survivors find some peace. .
Date published: 2014-10-02

– More About This Product –

A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Survival in World War Two: An…

by Caroline Moorehead

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: November 1, 2011

Publisher: Random House of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307366677

ISBN - 13: 9780307366672

From the Publisher

“How can you do this work if you have a child?” asked her mother.

“It is because I have a child that I do it,” replied Cecile. “This is not a world I wish her to grow up in.”

On January 24, 1943, 230 women were placed in four cattle trucks on a train in Compiegne, in northeastern France, and the doors bolted shut for the journey to Auschwitz. They were members of the French Resistance, ranging in age from teenagers to the elderly, women who before the war had been doctors, farmers’ wives, secretaries, biochemists, schoolgirls. With immense courage they had taken up arms against a brutal occupying force; now their friendship would give them strength as they experienced unimaginable horrors. Only forty-nine of the Convoi des 31000 would return from the camps in the east; within ten years, a third of these survivors would be dead too, broken by what they had lived through. In this vitally important book, Caroline Moorehead tells the whole story of the 230 women on the train, for the first time. Based on interviews with the few remaining survivors, together with extensive research in French and Polish archives, A Train in Winter is an essential historical document told with the clarity and impact of a great novel.

Caroline Moorehead follows the women from the beginning, starting with the disorganized, youthful and high-spirited activists who came together with the Occupation, and chronicling their links with the underground intellectual newspapers and Communist cells that formed soon afterwards. Postering and graffiti grew into sabotage and armed attacks, and the Nazis responded with vicious acts of mass reprisal – which in turn led to the Resistance coalescing and developing. Moorehead chronicles the women’s roles in victories and defeats, their narrow escapes and their capture at the hands of French police eager to assist their Nazi overseers to deport Jews, resisters, Communists and others. Their story moves inevitably through to its horrifying last chapters in Auschwitz: murder, starvation, disease and the desperate struggle to survive. But, as Moorehead notes, even in the most inhuman of places, the women of the Convoi could find moments of human grace in their companionship: “So close did each of the women feel to the others, that to die oneself would be no worse than to see one of the others die.”

Uncovering a story that has hitherto never been told, Caroline Moorehead exhibits the skills that have made her an acclaimed biographer and historian. In this book she places the reader utterly in the world of wartime France, casting light on what it was like to experience horrific terrors and face impossible moral dilemmas. Through the sensitive interviews on which the book is based, she tells personal and individual stories of courage, solace and companionship. In this way, A Train in Winter ultimately becomes a valuable memorial to a unique group of heroines, and a testimony to the particular power of women’s friendship even in the worst places on earth.




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