On 4th October 2009, the Duke of Wellington and Lord Selbourne were at the unveiling of the new monument on the Albert Embankment, opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, as were veterans and many others in various services and members of the general public. It was a fine day which BBC One captured very well in its news bulletins.
Karen Newman sculpted Violette. Her vision was to encapture the many strengths and emotions that Violette sustained in 1944 to her execution in January-February 1945. Violette Szabó, George Cross, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile, is the icon for all those who fought behind enemy lines in occupied countries during the Second World War, especially those of the SOE F Section (French Section) and also those who stayed at home giving as much support as possible.
Ivor Saxton was the moving spirit behind the erection of this fine monument. His wish is to commemorate through public monuments those who have contributed to the British way of life and particularly to the fragile freedoms we all share in our multi-cultural and multi-racial country.
Karen, the sculptor, is, as most artists, sensitive, but with a determination to succeed. She took great pains to fulfil her remit and from Ivor, for the first time, learnt of such women. She has since sculpted Nancy Wake (the White Mouse), friend in SOE training of Violette.
These two people managed to succeed wonderfully in their tasks. The result is a monument to SOE and Violette able to endure the centuries.
I congratulate and thank both Ivor and Karen. It would be great to sit with them one summer's day in front of Violette's monument with a fine bottle of chilled white wine and chilled grapes to give a toast to all of SOE's courageous men and women and to this young, brave and beautiful woman, my mother.
Violette Szabo GC monument on Albert Embankment commemorating all those in SOE
Thursday, 23 April 2009 7.45 pm Women's Institute - St. Martin's Public Hall, Jersey. An evening with Tania Szabó Tania gave her fourth talk followed by question and answers to the W.I. The last talk was warmly received and Tania hoped that she did not disappoint this time. She recalled her memories of Violette and the lives of Violette and Etienne recounting happenings that made us laugh right in the midst of war. "It was a fascinating evening." A P. President of the Jersey WI.
The weekend from Thursday, April 2 to Saturday 4, Manuela de Melo will be bringing her French teenage students to The Jersey War Tunnels and for the third consecutive year has asked Tania to talk to her students - IN ENGLISH!! Tania is delighted to do so and will demystify in French where necessary.
Tuesday, 18 November, 2008 from 1030 am; a morning of talks: The British Film Institute, Southbank, London, showed the classic and ever popular film, Carve Her Name With Pride, director Louis Gilbert, stars Virginia McKenna, Paul Scofield, Jack Warner and his first bit-part by Michael Caine. Were you able to spot him?
The whole day was dedicated to Violette and SOE with a morning of discussions including guests of honour Virginia McKenna and the director of Carve Her Name with Pride, Louis Gilbert from 10.30 in the morning continuing with lunch and an afternoon matinee of the film at 2 pm with special rates for senior citizens.
Luncheon, talks by Sarah Helm, author of Vera Atkin's biography, Dr. Juliette Pattison, modern historian, on how women learn to fight and to kill the enemy. Book signings of various books including Nigel Perrin's Spirit of Resistance, the story of Violette's dear friend, Harry Peulevé - SOE agent; Shrabani Basu's Spy Princess - the life of Noor Inayat Khan GC and Tania's book in tribute to her mother, Violette, Young Brave and Beautiful. It is great to see the interest in the men and women of SOE.
Sarah Helm, the author of Vera Atkin's biography and presently writing a book on Ravensbrück Concentration Camp; and Dr. Juliette Pattison, modern historian, giving a talk on female agents being taught not only to help the Resistance movement in Occupied France as agents, courriers, radio operators and intelligence gathers but also to fight unarmed and armed with various guns and explosive materials. They were taught, when attacked by the enemy, to fight as soldiers by army instructors and to wound and kill the enemy to save their life and that of their comrades and citizens. These were the early days, in our present civilisation, of women learning to fight the enemy face-to-face in armed and unarmed combat knowing they would have to wound and kill the enemy to save themselves, comrades and citizens. The film Carve Her Name With Pride portrays this training admirably with gentle humour, as was the spirit of the times.
It was wonderful to see a packed auditoriummany - honouring and rejoicing in a young brave and beautiful woman, Violette, my mother, and all those other women, and men, of courage who gave everything to save our fragile liberties. .
Saturday and Sunday 22 and 23 November 2008 Royal Armouries in Leeds The Royal Armouries also sponsored events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Carve Her Name with Pride at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on 23rd November 2008 and on the Saturday 22nd.
Tania had been invited as a special guest and to share a few words and thoughts with the audiences as well as introducing a special screening of the film earlier in the afternoon followed by book signing.
Screenings of the film in a cinema within the museum took place over the entire weekend, and then on the Sunday afternoon it was followed by a special event.
BBC Breakfast interviewed Tania, Kate and others as did BBC Radio Jersey by Chris Stone. Prizes of three copies of Young Brave and Beautiful were offered by the Daily Telegraph of the in-depth and rigorously researched story of Violette's missions to France in 1944 and allied and clandestine events in Occupied France, personalised by the author, Tania Szabó.
Visit: www.bientrouve.com for the audios and writeups. Martyn Cox has uploaded the audios as well as writing up the details of the speakers and much more.
The programme was:
Introduction – Films and the SOE - Mark Seaman, WWII expert for the Imperial War Museum some years ago and for WWII films and documentaries.
Thoughts on Carve her name with Pride and Violette Szabo by her daughter - Tania Szabo
Documentary of interviews with SOE agents - Martyn Cox, specialist on the FANYs and WWII undercover activities in occupied France generally
SOE interpretation – Kate Vigurs, writing her PHD disertation on SOE
Informal talk on SOE weapons with a table display - Mark Murray-Flutter
Questions and answers as on Audio 4 on www.bientrouve.com.
Events may be held at The 'Great Western' Royal Hotel in David Place, the Monterray Hotel or another of the Morvan Family Hotels; or other appropriate venues in Jersey or the UK decided upon by the organisers.
Please let Tania, the Morvan Hotels or The Jersey War Tunnels know of any events you might like to organise, e.g.
1. School groups 2. Museum groups
3. Reading groups (in association with The Violette Szabó Reading Society) Tania registered this Society many years ago and is hoping soon to get it up and running to promote reading in every medium.
4. With interested people also to expand The Discipline of Freedom and Family Management through brainstorming or study meetings arranged by them and Tania.
5. Talks and discussion groups led by Tania, regarding WWII, SOE, her parents and the Island in which she has found a haven.
are just a few suggestions You are invited to suggest more or organise an event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do use the Comment space for in-island and inter-island groups and Journeys of Discovery space above. We would all be happy to discuss your ideas.
This website will, hopefully, improve Violette and Etienne's story will eventually be condensed onto this site It is now July 2010 and Tania has made additions and changes but still has a long way to go. Links to other sites will be listed A Violette and Etienne Blog site will arrive when she knows how to do it Anyone wishing to advertise on this site please contact us through the Contact page Those with sites dealing with SOE and related subjects and who would like a reciprocal link please contact us through the Contact Us page If you have any information, suggestions or comments, please contact us - details on the Contact Us page Thank you for visiting this site, for remembering a young, brave and beautiful woman, my mother, Violette, and for any support you have already offered or may offer in the future
May 14, 2008 Tania had been invited to a pre-screening of a new film on SOE. It is a fictional film by Jean-Paul Salome entitled Female Agents and promises to be a thrilling wartime adventure based on real events and people, like Violette, to construct a spy thriller set in the final months of one of the most terrible conflicts in human history. It’s May 1944, a five-woman commando unit parachutes into occupied France on a daring and dangerous mission to protect the secret of the D-Day Landings and eliminate Colonel Heindrich, the head of the German counter intelligence. It was followed on Thursday by media interviews of those with connections to SOE.
May 19 - Daily Express double page article by Chief Features Writer, Anna Pukas, of interview with Tania talking about Female Agents, her mother and her book in tribute to her mother, Young Brave and Beautiful available for purchase on the Home Page of this site.
Mail on Sunday TravelReport on the Limousin, suggesting a tour of the area into which Violette parachuted in June 1944 - just after D-Day. See Tania's own suggested tours under Violette Szabó, Journeys of Discovery below, that could, should you wish, be conducted by her.
June 17-30 - Yours Magazine, double page spread Tania's interview with journalist, Ellie Guttridge, on the film Female Agents, Violette and Tania's book, Young Brave and Beautiful, available on Home Page.
June 24, 10-11 am - BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour. Tania with BBC reseacher, Rebecca, will make a pre-recorded interview for broadcast on Tuesday 24 June during Woman's Hour hosted by Jenni Murray discussing Tania's interview, the film Femal Agents, and Tania's book Young Brave and Beautiful with her guests, celebrating, informing and entertaining women everywhere.
September at the Jersey Branchage Film Festival the film was shown at the Odeon Cinema. Female Agents is now available on DVD It is especially useful for A level and tertiary students perfecting their French and/or studying the Second World War and specifically Occupied France.
A film of fiction celebrating the courage of SOE women by JP Salome
Following Tania Szabó's trip to London for the pre-screening of Female Agents, on Saturday 19 May the Daily Express produced a wonderful double-page spread written by Chief Features Writer Anna Pukas and another exceptionally fine article in Yours magazine covering 17-30 June written by Journalist Ellie Guttridge.
Tania enjoyed this fictional film very much, to be generally released on 27 June. She explained that the film depicts, through these five women of very different characters, the true heroism exhibited by women like Violette, Lise Baissac, Odette, Noor and so many others. Violette was probably the only one who actually fought with her sten gun, alone, while the two men with her escaped, an advance guard of the Das Reich Panzer Division, shooting until she ran out of ammunition although injured and unable to escape thus ensuring the two men got away. At least one German was killed and others injured. Her award of the Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star is a direct recognition of this act of courage.
Violette & Blue Plaque at our old home in Burnley Road
Violette Szabó, GC Journeys of Discovery
Events to Organise between Tania and interested parties
Tania is willing to take groups of two or many more to the following places where Violette lived, clandestinely operated, fought and was finally executed on orders from Berlin.
1. Stockwell and Lambeth in South London, FANY HQ, Buckingham Palace, Baker Street and others
2. Hereford, Beaulieu, Warnborough Manor, Hampstead Norris and other places
3. Abbeville, Pont-Rémy, Quevauvillers and related areas
4. Both banks of Rouen, Le Havre, sites of V1 and V2 rockets, Forges-des-Eaux and other places
5. Limoges, Sussac, Salon-la-Tour, Mont Gargan and other areas of interest
6. Paris, Avenue Foch, Fresnes Prison and stations and other places of interest
7. Journey to Ravensbrűck, Berlin and Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and surrounding area
All such tours to be organised and costed by Tania and interested parties
Half-timbered shops in the lovely town of Rouen that Tania visited in her research
Sir Henry Cooper, CEO Paul Simmonds and Paul-Emile discussing the launch of Young Brave & Beautiful at the Sanctuary Restaurant below the Garden of Remembrance
Future Events The picnic at the Violette Szabo Museum in Herefordshire. To find out more please visit www.violetteszabomuseum.org. It is held every year as close as possible to Violette's birthday - 26 June 1921.
There will be more events to be posted after the New Year. Happy festivities to you and yours and, especially, a happy new year.
Past Events Tuesday 24 June 2008 Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 Tania in a pre-recorded interview and Jenny Murray discusses with guests women in war.
Other events will be posted in due course.
The Jersey War Tunnels are: Winner 2004 Jersey Tourism Award for Excellence Runner-up 2004 Equity Link Education Link Award
Paul-Emile stands before Panel 26 in Brookwood Memorial Cemetry where Violette's name is inscribed between the poppy and his hand
Events in March and April 2008
May 9 2008 - Liberation Day in Jersey Tania will be giving a tour and talk to WI visitors in the Jersey War Tunnels followed by lunch in the Sanctuary Restaurant or, if it's fine, in the tranquil and meandering Remembrance Gardens. A wide range of refreshments and meals at reasonable prices are always available - a cornucopia of treats.
May29 to June 1, 2008 The BookExpo America 2008 takes place in Los Angeles, US.. Their website is www.bookexpoamerica.com. Young Brave and Beautiful will be exhibited in The New Titles Showcase and mentioned in the BookExpo America international catalogue with Tania's contact details both.
This sten gun with its magazines lying on the silk parachute are on display in the Szabo Room at The Jersey War Tunnels. They are as Violette would have used in her lone gun battle against a Das Reich unit, which won her the Croix de Guerre with Star in September 1944
Croix de Guerre with Star awarded to Violette
Violette's mother and Tania's grandmother, Reine Bushell
Charles Bushell, Violette's father and Tania's grandfather
"She was the bravest of us all." Odette Churchill, SOE operative, said of Violette at a ceremony at St. Paul's Church to unveil a plaque dedicated to those women who were so savagely treated and then executed by the Nazis. Lest we forget. .