By the time she died, Anne Spoerry was celebrated as 'the Mother
Teresa of Flying Doctors', having improved the lives of an
estimated 1,200,000 people during the course of her extraordinary
career in Africa. As an aviator, physician and adventurer, she was
celebrated for her courage and determination; as a young woman, she
had worked for the French Resistance during the Second World War
before capture by the Gestapo and imprisonment. However, the way in
which Spoerry managed to survive Ravensbruck Concentration Camp is
altogether another matter. For two decades, John Heminway was a
friend of Spoerry's, yet during that time she revealed very little
of her past to him. It would take Heminway another 10 years after
her death to piece together fragments from records and testimonies,
to unearth a portrait of a woman as complex as it is shocking.
Although she had been a victim of atrocities, Anne Spoerry was no
saint; at a pivotal point in her life she too had been seduced by
evil. And her crimes had led to exile, to her search in Africa for
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