The Quest for Freedom: Belgian Resistance in World War II

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9780931832932: The Quest for Freedom: Belgian Resistance in World War II
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This is the story of a true hero of WWII, a young woman who risked her life fighting the Nazis during the entire war. She was extensively involved in both sabotage and espionage, and later in the sheltering and movement of allied airmen. She was betrayed, tortured, and when she refused to divulge any information she was sentenced to be hanged; but she was saved by the liberation of Antwerp on September 4th, 1944. For the actions she describes in this book, she was later awarded a certificate of merit by General Eisenhower.

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Review:

Yvonne de Ridder hide downed RAF pilots in back bedrooms, cached explosives in the basement, and rode through Antwerp on a bicycle laden with bombs under the very nose of the Gestapo. During World War II such things were part of the everyday life of the Belgian Resistance. The Quest for Freedom: Belgian Resistance in World War II is her memoir, which opens with the droning of aircraft over Belgium on May 10, 1940 and the news that Hitler's army had invaded Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Yvonne followed her husband into exile in France where they were overtaken by the Nazi occupation. After her return to Belgium Yvonne joined an espionage network, and nd began the resistance activities for which she would later be decorated by three countries. Her missions included harboring Jewish neighbors, distributing propaganda leaflets, manufacturing homemade bombs, sabotaging German Army vehicles, and receiving and transshipping caches of explosives dropped into Belgium by Allied planes. She was arrested by the Gestapo and ordered to be hanged. The Allied forces landed a mere ten days before Yvonne's scheduled execution. This is a personal biography more exciting than any fiction! -- Midwest Book Review

From Publishers Weekly:

A young secretary in occupied Antwerp during WW II, Files didn't even inform her father (who was also her boss) when she joined the Belgian Resistance. A staunch patriot, Files assembled bombs in her living room, hid downed Allied airmen, and slipped propaganda into the letterboxes of buildings that housed the German invaders. Arrested and imprisoned, she bravely survived whipping and interrogation at the hands of the Nazis before she was freed upon the liberation of Belgium. Files offers dramatic details of daily life (e.g., sugar, a rationed food item, was an ingredient in incendiary bombs), but her account is too personal to tell a broad story of the Resistance, much less to put into perspective the tensions within occupied Belgium. Though heartfelt, the book is burdened with breathless writing, dotted with exclamation points and cliches. Files, who moved to the U.S. after the war, relates in the last chapter how, on the television show This Is Your Life in 1955, she was reunited with some fliers she had aided. The book may find an audience among WW II buffs. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Yvonne De Ridder Files
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Files, Yvonne De Ridder
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