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Opera-Loving Sisters Who Saved Jews

Discussion in 'Prelude to War & Poland 1939' started by GRW, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "Between 1934 and 1939, two "nervous British spinsters" were regular visitors to the opera houses of Germany and Austria. But the trips also served a greater and more dangerous purpose - saving Jewish lives.
    Ida and Louise Cook risked their own lives dozens of times by smuggling out valuable goods for those those attempting to flee the Nazi regime, as well as passing on messages and meeting contacts, some of whom were active in the underground movement.
    Every time they left Germany, a border guard could have called into question the ownership of the furs and jewellery they were draped in, putting the sisters in peril of arrest and imprisonment - and worse.
    They met one contact almost under the nose of several high-ranking Nazi officials, when he got in touch with them at their hotel - one of Hitler's lunchtime haunts - asking them to rush outside and jump into his taxi.
    The sisters helped many people to escape, but as Ida said many years later: "The funny thing is we weren't the James Bond type - we were just respectable Civil Service typists.""
  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

    Jun 6, 2006
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    I love the term "nervous British spinsters" to describe them . Thye were heroes indeed. :poppy:
  3. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

    Mar 27, 2016
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    Silesia Inferior
    It's a heartwarming story, but needs some background.

    Those women didn't risk their lives because even in Nazi Germany people weren't executed for petty smuggling. Especially foreigners.

    There was a case in Poland, two Polish Jews illegally entered Germany in 1939, they wanted to help their family living there. One was apprehended and sent to the Dachau concentration camp, Polish diplomats were able to free him after a week or two.
    So it wasn't really that dangerous.

    And then they didn't save Jewish lives, they saved some furs and jewelry.

    The German and the Austrian Jews could have left Germany any time they wished - they didn't really have to flee or conspire to do that. The Nazis were doing everything they could to force them out.
    So I don't quite understand why the women were "passing on messages and meeting contacts". Especially that the mail wasn't censored.

    And the Jews could have transferred a large part of their wealth abroad, thank to the so called Haavara Agreement between the Zionist Federation of Germany and the Nazis. It gave the Nazis in exchange economic benefits in Palestine.

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