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

Kobo ebook | November 1, 2011

byCaroline Moorehead

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“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remaining survivors, together with extensive research in French and Polish archives, A Train in Winter is an essential historical document told with the clarity and impact of a great novel.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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A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Survival in World War Two

Kobo ebook | November 1, 2011
Available for download Not available in stores
$12.99

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 Ausc...

Format:Kobo ebookPublished:November 1, 2011Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307366677

ISBN - 13:9780307366672

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from An amazing story poorly told The first half of the book suffers from too much detail. The endless names takes away from the story as it becomes extremely difficult to keep everyone straight. The painful stories need to be told, however, the writing style made finishing the book a chore.
Date published: 2016-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Book. Read this book awhile ago. Great writing. Hard to put down.
Date published: 2016-03-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A difficult book to read. The Horrors of WWII The book was difficult to read because it was full of facts and names. It reads like a documentary and is very dry. However, the stories of these courageous women needs to be told. How they fought for their country and ultimately for their lives. Most of the camp survivors are gone by now, but their stories live on in this well researched book. Kudos to Caroline Moorehead for all of the research and writing.
Date published: 2015-09-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A difficult book to read. The Horrors of WWII The book was difficult to read because it was full of facts and names. It reads like a documentary and is very dry. However, the stories of these courageous women needs to be told. How they fought for their country and ultimately for their lives. Most of the camp survivors are gone by now, but their stories live on in this well researched book. Kudos to Caroline Moorehead for all of the research and writing.
Date published: 2015-09-21
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: 2014-09-01
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: 2014-07-05
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: 2014-05-12
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: 2014-05-12
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: 2014-05-03
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: 2014-04-14
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: 2014-03-24
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: 2014-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A difficult book to read. The Horrors of WWII This book hooked me from the beginning and has stayed with me long after I finished. I have not read a book that gives an illustration of the lives of survivors in the years after, i found it insightful and heartbreaking. Definitely an important read.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A difficult book to read. The Horrors of WWII Tells the stories of a group of women in the French resistance during WWII, their capture by the Germans and their suffering in concentration camps. Some women were active agents in the French resistance, some sheltered people in their "safe house", while others were simply "snitched upon" by someone who held a grudge. Finally we learn of their lives after the war. An excellent read, hard to put down.
Date published: 2014-01-22
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: 2014-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Train in Winter This books tells The story of 200 French women who were sent to concentration camps in Germany. Some of these women were in the French resistance, others were Communist, and others were sent for no reason. There were few survivors and this is their story of women's friendship and compassion.
Date published: 2013-02-17
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: 2012-07-02
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: 2012-06-13