Two Jewish heroines of the SOE

Jewish participation in the hazardous war of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War was – as in all theatres of war – far out of proportion to the community’s numbers in the general population.

Some of the Jewish SOE agents are quite well known: Captain Adam Rabino vich (codenamed ‘Arnaud’), Croix de Guerre, murdered by the Gestapo; Captain Isadore Newman (‘Julien’ or ‘Pepe’), MBE, murdered at Mauthausen Camp; and Captain Maurice Pertschuck (‘Martin Perkins’ or ‘Eugene’), MBE, murdered at Buchenwald Camp. In addition, hundreds of other Jews fought with SOE agents in resistance groups in occupied countries, especially in France and Poland.1 Much less well known, however, are two of the Jewish women who fought in France: Denise Bloch, Croix de Guerre (who was French, but served in the British forces); and Muriel Byck, Mentioned in Despatches, who was British.

The SOE was a British secret

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