In Paris, January 1943, 230 French women resisters were rounded up and sent on a train to Auschwitz - the only train, in the four years of the German occupation, to take women of the resistance to a death camp. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15, the eldest a farmer’s wife of 68; there were among them teachers, biochemists, sales girls, secretaries, housewives and university lecturers. The women turned to one another, finding solace and strength in friendship and shared experience. Forty-nine of them came home.
Drawing on interviews with survivors and their families, on archival research and original sources, A Train in Winter covers a harrowing part of our history but is, ultimately, a portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and endurance.
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Gripping account of the struggle to survive
I would recommend the book to anyone interested in the impact of war on ordinary people, or the history of France in a period that still remains surrounded by some taboos. It is important that details be included in any account even though some make for difficult listening. The book was moving and inspiring in its description of human endurance and above all the importance and strength of such an ordinary experience as friendship in such extraordinary circumstances.
The narrator's tone of voice was not entirely attractive to listen to and I cannot understand why more care isn't taken to find a narrator who can pronounce French properly when it is so pre-eminent in the narrative. Even the most common names were completely mangled by this narrator - more than a little irritating.
I might try to listen to it again, but the subject matter is so hard to deal with that it parts of it will be a struggle to bear.
Whilst her performance is good and measured, her French pronunciation is often excrutiatingly bad. Why wasn't this checked by a native French speaker? To pronounce 'soeur' as 'sueur' (sweat) for instance is just plain wrong, and there are many more.