During World War Two the Special Operation Executive's French
Section sent more than 400 agents into Occupied France - at least
100 never returned and were reported 'Missing Believed Dead' after
the war. Twelve of these were women who died in German
concentration camps - some were tortured, some were shot, and some
died in the gas chambers. Vera Atkins had helped prepare these
women for their missions, and when the war was over she went out to
Germany to find out what happened to them and the other agents lost
behind enemy lines. But while the woman who carried out this
extraordinary mission appeared quintessentially English, she was
nothing of the sort. Vera Atkins, who never married, covered her
life in mystery so that even her closest family knew almost nothing
of her past. In A LIFE IN SECRETS Sarah Helm has stripped away
Vera's many veils and - with unprecedented access to official and
private papers, and the cooperation of Vera's relatives - vividly
reconstructed an extraordinary life.
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