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Oral history interview with Odette Hallowes

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.16 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0016

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Odette Hallowes (born in 1912 in France) describes her enlistment and training with the Special Operations Executive in Great Britain; being married to an English man and offering to help the War Office; her motivation for enlistment and her attitudes towards Germans; her impressions of Colonel Maurice Buckmaster; details about the training she received; her acceptance of the risks of service and feeling prepared for what was to come; wearing the same suit during all of her imprisonment; going to France in 1943 as an agent with Special Operations Executive; the journey to France on a fishing boat; going to Cannes, France; the Réseau in Cannes; being an inmate of Fresnes Prison, Paris, France, in 1943; resisting Gestapo questions; attitude towards torture and her methods for getting through it; her religious beliefs; her torturer who was a Frenchman; reasons for attitude of defiance in captivity; using the name Churchill in the prison and attributing her survival to it; further details of her defiant attitude in captivity; her contact with other F Section prisoners and befriending another female prisoner; the importance of secrecy for her while she was imprisoned; her attitude towards the Germans at that time; her views on those who gave up information to the enemy; the difficulty of being separated from her children; controlling a female SS guard who wrote to her after the war; her conversations with other imprisoned British female agents; her arrival in Ravensbruck; being put in an isolated cell next to the punishment cell; conditions in the camp; being moved to a cell next to the crematorium; witnessing the cannibalism of a woman who was shot; punishment in the camp; going to several different camps north of Ravensbruck after Hitler’s death; her physical condition upon release from the camp; her feelings when she returned to England and experience of wartime service; her reflections on her captivity from 1943 to 1945; her attitude to her biography and film; being awarded the George Cross; and further details on Fresnes Prison.

Interviewee
Odette Hallowes
Date
1986 October 31  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 sound cassettes (90 min.).
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:44:10
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510824