20. The Tragic End of a War Heroine
Although the average life expectancy of a clandestine wireless operator in German-occupied France was six weeks, Assistant Section Officer Noor Inayat Khan survived for longer than that. She arrived in mid-June, 1943, and lasted for nearly four months, before she was arrested by the SD on October 13th, 1943. She was betrayed to the Germans either by Henri Dericourt, or a female agent named Renee Garry, who was driven by jealousy because her love interest was attracted to Noor. Along with Noor, the Germans captured documents that allowed them to mount a counter-intelligence operation that nabbed three more SOE agents.
Noor escaped her imprisonment twice, but was recaptured. After the second attempt, she was classified as a “dangerous prisoner”, and was kept in solitary confinement, with her hands and feet in shackles. Despite harsh conditions and harsher interrogations, Noor refused to give the Nazis anything. After ten months of cruel confinement, she was sent to Dachau Concentration Camp, where she was brutally beaten by an SS officer, before she was shot to death on September 13th, 1944. An inmate who witnessed her death stated that her last words were “Liberte”. After the war, Noor Inayat Khan was posthumously awarded the British George Cross, and the French Croix de Guerre.