Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A train in winter : an extraordinary story…

A train in winter : an extraordinary story of women, friendship, and… (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Caroline Moorehead

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5874316,791 (3.91)74
Title:A train in winter : an extraordinary story of women, friendship, and resistance in occupied France
Authors:Caroline Moorehead
Info:New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2011.
Collections:Your library
Tags:France, Resistance, World War II, Birkenau, Ravensbruck

Work details

A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France by Caroline Moorehead (2011)

  1. 10
    None of Us Will Return by Charlotte Delbo (meggyweg)
    meggyweg: Charlotte Delbo was one of the women on the train.
  2. 00
    Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation by Anne Sebba (Imprinted)
  3. 00
    Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies (srdr)
    srdr: Both books show the heroism of individual women during WW II. A Train in Winter tells a group story; Anne Frank Remembered reveals the risks taken by Miep Gies and her husband to help the Frank family.
  4. 00
    The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienstadt by Hannelore Brenner (meggyweg)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 74 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Maybe I've just read to many WWII history books in the last year but I am having a lot of trouble getting into this one. It is dull and dry. I have learned some new facts. Yes, the NAZI occupiers were ruthless rulers, who were supported by at least half the country in rounding up the Jews, but, we knew that. Yes, many French risk and lost their lives as part of the Resistance.

This book is specifically about the French Communist women who were perfectly willing to forgive and admire Stalin while he and Hitler divided up Poland and murdered thousands. No problem with Stalin or the USSR when it took the Baltic States as part of the deal with the NAZIs.

Of course, these patriot women fought against foreign invaders. Good for them. Who wouldn't? Well half of France wouldn't.

But after looking at the 20th century in hindsight, and knowing about the 100 million people murdered by Communist police states, I have trouble caring about the French Communist movement. They were still subscribing to USSR magazines (French edition), with glamorous photos of Stalin, a decade after the war. It's kind of like hearing about a child molester who is killed by the local MS13 gang. I know I should care but I just can't be bothered. ( )
  ikeman100 | May 8, 2017 |
This book was probably not the best choice for this time of year, considering the content, but there were those of us who found an amazing read within its pages, regardless.
The abuse and degradation these resistance fighters experienced in Birkenau is not easy to take in, and we are all aware of the horrors committed during Hitler’s rein, but the story of these women’s strength and endurance under such extreme conditions and cruelty cannot help but impart a real sense of wonder and respect. The bond created by these women attests to the power of human fortitude when pushed to the limits. Was this what helped keep some of them alive? No doubt, although we did comment that some succumbed very early on, before a real connection was formed. Did this make a difference? Unanswerable questions to be sure.

Our conversation extended beyond the women and their plight into the general politics of WW II, Hitler’s strategies and the overall effects of war. The attempted annihilation of the Jewish population took us to a very broad and edifying discussion of multiculturalism, racism and the tenuous condition of the human spirit after extreme suffering. Heavy stuff? Not really. Everyone felt more informed after reading this book and it always feels better to speak about what you have discovered, coming to terms with information that ordinarily would be unacceptable.

In the end, Moorehead summed up the book well with survivor Charlotte and her quote - ‘Looking at me, one would think that I’m alive … I’m not alive. I died in Auschwitz, but no one knows it.’
  jody12 | Jan 29, 2017 |
I'm starting off 2017 with a remarkable book about women who were active in the French Resistance during the German occupation of France in WWII. These women were arrested for varied acts of resistance against the German occupiers such as transporting Jews to the free zone, hiding people wanted by the Germans, writing political pamphlets, secretly sending letters, printing fliers, denouncing German occupation, and, for some, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most of the politically active women were Communist.

After being arrested, the women were held in camps in France. In January of 1943, 230 French women, most labeled as political activists, were put on a train and sent to Birkenau in Auschwitz. Here they faced hardship and humiliation that is impossible to describe. Those that ended up surviving were mainly in their mid 20s or early 30s, healthy to start, and found strength through each other. Most of the survivors stressed that their womanly qualities of caring for each other and their organizational skills pulled them through the ordeal. They could not have survived alone. They pooled meager food, hid the sick and wounded, and supported each others spirits.

Upon returning home, they found a wounded France, dead family members, and the inability to talk about their experience to people who largely didn't want to hear about it. Only 49 of the 230 women survived and about a third of those died within a decade of their return. Many stayed in touch, finding that only around each other could they find some modicum of peace.

Besides the obvious horrors committed by those who had clear roles as torturers and sadists, Moorehead points out the gray areas. What about all the French people who denounced their fellow countrymen and women to the Germans? Or those who saw and did nothing? This permeated every level of French society and largely it was decided that what the country needed was to move on after convicting those who committed the worst crimes. But these politically active women came home to a France where they felt that the strongest and smartest men who should have been leading their country had been killed in the war and they were left with those who had no business being in power. Some stayed active in their Communist parties, some left for other countries, and some withdrew from life altogether. A particularly moving part of this book is the final pages, where Moorehead lists every single one of the 230 women: their names, where they were from, why they were initially arrested, if they had children, and where/when/how they died or survived.

This is a sad book, a moving book when describing the tight bonds that drew these women together, and a book that will make you question humanity.

Definitely recommended. ( )
3 vote japaul22 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Compelling, amazing, troubling, and very well written. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
This is a moving and incredibly difficult book to read. The acts done to this women, what they survived, and what they refused to do to others. I have been reading a lot of WWII books lately so this is going to be a last one for a while(or so I thought but not the case). Moorehead again does great research, she handles the topic with care but she does not shy away from the hard facts. Moorehead gives an index of the women at the back of the book with their lives in brief; I liked that because you met 230 women over the course of this book and so many had children or other family and so many die without ever seeing them again. The pictures in this book help to give faces to the names but there is one picture that disgusted me. It is a smiling happy picture of the guards at Auschwitz. They look so happy and healthy. It made my blood run cold and disgusted me. To see the people who beat, starved, and tortured thousands of people being so happy; it was and is disgusting. But this is a very inspiring story in the end because they were never broken. They were hungry, thirsty, naked, and mistreated but they were never broken.
I give this book a Five out of Five stars. ( )
  lrainey | May 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Caroline Mooreheadprimary authorall editionscalculated
McCaddon, WandaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Leo
First words
What surprised the Parisians, standing in little groups along the Champs-Elysees to watch the German soldiers take over their city in the early hours of 14 June 1940, was how youthful and healthy they looked.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives; a singer at the Paris Opera, a midwife, a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, printed subversive newspapers, hid resisters, secreted Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15 who scrawled "V" for victory on the walls of her lycée; the eldest, a farmer's wife in her sixties who harbored escaped Allied airmen. Strangers to each other, hailing from villages and cities from across France, these brave women were united in hatred and defiance of their Nazi occupiers.

Eventually, the Gestapo hunted down 230 of these women and imprisoned them in a fort outside Paris. Separated from home and loved ones, these disparate individuals turned to one another, their common experience conquering divisions of age, education, profession, and class, as they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie.

In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only 49 would return to France.

A Train in Winter draws on interviews with these women and their families; German, French, and Polish archives; and documents held by World War II resistance organizations to uncover a dark chapter of history that offers an inspiring portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and survival — and of the remarkable, enduring power of female friendship.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

In January 1943, the Gestapo hunted down 230 women of the French Resistance and sent them to Auschwitz. This is their story, told in full for the first time--a searing and unforgettable chronicle of terror, courage, defiance, survival, and the power of friendship to transcend evil that is an essential addition to the history of World War II.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
288 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.91)
2 7
2.5 2
3 12
3.5 12
4 53
4.5 5
5 22

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,068,437 books! | Top bar: Always visible