The Rich American Who Ended Up as a WWII Resistance Heroine
Life in World War II’s resistance in Europe was pretty tough. Whether it was the Gestapo hot on their heels, the ever-present danger of betrayal by collaborators, or mere bad luck, capture and doom were never far away. Life was harder and more dangerous still for resistance figures with readily identifiable characteristics – especially if such characteristics were known to the Nazis. Virginia Hall, a one-legged spy who spent much of WWII dodging the Gestapo in occupied France, could attest to that.
Hall was born into a wealthy Baltimore family in 1906, but she was not into the usual fripperies that rich young ladies of her era were into. Among other things, she did not want to simply become somebody’s dutiful housewife. Instead, she was a total Tomboy: a free spirit, athletic, independent, and liked to thumb her nose at convention. As she wrote in a schoolbook in 1924: “I must have liberty, with as large a charter as possible“. At age twenty, she headed to Europe to blazer her own path.