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Jeannie de Clarens

Discussion in 'WWII Era Obituaries (non-military service)' started by GRW, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "Jeannie de Clarens, an amateur spy who passed a wealth of information to the British about the development of the V-1 and V-2 rockets during World War II and survived stays in three concentration camps for her activities, died on Aug. 23 in Montaigu, southeast of Nantes, France. She was 98.
    The death was confirmed by her son, Pascal.
    In 1943 Jeannie Rousseau, as she was then known, was an interpreter in Paris for an association of French businessmen, representing their interests and helping them negotiate contracts with the German occupiers. She was young and attractive. She spoke flawless German. She was a favorite with the German officers, who were completely unaware that the woman they knew as Madeleine Chauffour had been reporting to a French intelligence network, the Druids, organized by the Resistance.
    Getting wind of a secret weapons project, she made it her mission to be on hand when the topic was discussed by the Germans, coaxing information through charm and guile.
    “I teased them, taunted them, looked at them wide-eyed, insisted that they must be mad when they spoke of the astounding new weapon that flew over vast distances, much faster than any airplane,” she told The Washington Post in 1998. “I kept saying, ‘What you are telling me cannot be true!’ I must have said that 100 times.”
    One officer, eager to convince her, let her look at drawings of the rockets.
    Most of what she heard was incomprehensible. But, blessed with a near-photographic memory, she repeated it in detail to her recruiter, Georges Lamarque, at a safe house on the Left Bank.
    In London, intelligence analysts, led by RV Jones, marveled at the quality of the information they were receiving from Paris, notably a startling document called the Wachtel Report. Delivered in September 1943, it identified the German officer in charge of the rocket program, Col. Max Wachtel; gave precise details about operations at the testing plant in Peenemünde, on the Baltic coast in Pomerania; and showed planned launch locations along the coast from Brittany to the Netherlands.
    Jeannie Yvonne Ghislaine Rousseau was born on April 1, 1919, in Saint-Brieuc, in Brittany. Her father, Jean, a veteran of World War I, was a senior official with the foreign ministry and, after retiring, the mayor of the 17th Arrondissement in Paris, on the Right Bank. Her mother was the former Marie Le Charpentier.
    Adept at languages, Ms. Rousseau performed brilliantly at the elite Sciences Po, graduating at the top of her class in 1939. When war broke out, her father moved the family to Dinard, in Brittany, which he thought would be beyond the reach of the Germans.
    When the occupying forces arrived, Ms. Rousseau agreed to act as interpreter for town officials and kept her ears open. “The Germans still wanted to be liked then,” she told The Post. “They were happy to talk to someone who could speak to them.”
    Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens, Valiant World War II Spy, Dies at 98
    lwd likes this.

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