Chabad to presents ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ with 97-year-old hero

Posted on: December 30th, 2017 by tgregory

Chabad of Nashville invites the Nashville community to a most historic evening with Marthe Cohn, the much-decorated war hero, a former spy who slipped behind enemy lines in a story of courage, faith and espionage. Hear the amazing story of a woman who lived through one of the worst times in human history, losing family members to the Nazis but surviving with her spirit and integrity intact.

Marthe Cohn

Now 97, Holocaust survivor Marthe Cohn became a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army and was able to retrieve inside information about Nazi troop movements by slipping behind enemy lines. She has written a book about her experiences, “Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany.”

She will appear in person at the Gordon JCC on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. to tell her remarkable story. “This evening will be an historic event for the people of Nashville,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel of Chabad of Nashville. “There are not many people left from that era to tell a story of heroism, a tale of an ordinary human being who, under extraordinary circumstances, became the hero her country needed her to be.” 

Mrs. Cohn, a best-selling author, will be available for a book signing after her talk. Tickets can be purchased in advance at chabadnashville.com; there will be limited seating for this event. For more information call Chabad of Nashville at (615) 646-5750 or go to www.chabadnashville.com

Before Mrs. Cohn became a spy, she was a devoutly religious 19-year-old French Jewish girl. Her life took an extraordinary turn when the Nazis invaded France in 1939.

While the rest of her family fled south, Marthe decided to fight back. After graduating from nursing school she joined the French resistance and, on account of her perfect German accent and Aryan appearance, she was recruited to be a spy. 

Carrying forged identification papers, she infiltrated German territory in the guise of a German nurse desperately searching for a fictional fiancé. By this time her real-life fiancé had been executed by the Nazis.

During the next year, she mingled freely with Nazi troops, on many occasions caring for injured Nazi soldiers to maintain her cover. She gathered invaluable information on troop positions which she secretly relayed to Allied commanders. Her intelligence gathering was instrumental in allowing the Allies to break through the Seigfried line and enter German territory in 1945, leading to the end of the war. •