The full story of SOE may never be told. Some activities were never recorded, most surviving records were classified for many years, tons of paper were destroyed at the end of WWII and German records were equally fragmented, not least because archives were destroyed by bombing. The story is the memoir of the subject, carefully edited by his daughter, to make a unique and very moving account of the survival of ‘special’ prisoners. – Most Highly Recommended
NAME: The GESTAPO's Most Improbable Hostage FILE: R2764 AUTHOR: Hugh Mallory Falconer PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 206 PRICE: £19.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: World War 2, World War II, Second World War, WWII, North Africa, Operation Torch Germany, SOE, concentration camps
IMAGE: B2764.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ycbstdnd LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The full story of SOE may never be told. Some activities were never recorded, most surviving records were classified for many years, tons of paper were destroyed at the end of WWII and German records were equally fragmented, not least because archives were destroyed by bombing. The story is the memoir of the subject, carefully edited by his daughter, to make a unique and very moving account of the survival of 'special' prisoners. - Most Highly Recommended The SOE was one of a number of intelligence units and special forces that were established early in WWII by the British to continue the fight after the BEF evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk. We are unlikely to ever know the full story and few of the surviving SOE agents have emerged before public gaze. Theirs was a secret war of enormous danger from the enemy and often for their 'friends'. Much of what has been published deals with the SOE in France, supporting the growing French Resistance, providing detailed intelligence that made the Normandy Landings a success and taking part in the assassination and sabotage efforts that did so much to reduce the effectiveness of the German response to D-Day. This new book adds a dimension because the subject was captured in civilian clothes by the Germans in North Africa where he had been part of the covert operations to make the Operation Torch landings a success. Only quick thinking saved him from the firing squad. He then enjoyed German hospitality for two and a half years as he was taken on a tour of concentration camps including Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Dachau. Falconer managed to talk his way on the 'special' prisoner list as the GESTAPO and the SS SD began to collect prisoners who they thought could be traded for freedom at the end of the war when the Allies were looking for justice for the victims of the Nazis. The selection of prisoners was somewhat arbitrary, indicated some of the German misconceptions, and demonstrated how quick thinking SOE prisoners could manage to manipulate their captors. In several respects they received reasonable treatment to preserve their perceived value as hostages for exchange, but they saw first hands the horrors of the concentration camps, understood how fickle their captors could be, and continued under constant threat of brutality and death. This is a harrowing and inspiring tale and we must be grateful to the editor for her efforts to bring her father's memoirs to print. There is also a most fascinating collection of images in a photo plate section of people who have remained largely invisible before.