EPISODE 41

SEVEN FEMALE SPIES

SEVEN FEMALE SPIES

Vera Atkins worked for Special Operations, the top-secret arm of British Intelligence that sent citizens on dangerous missions behind enemy lines during World War II. Many did not return, and Atkins felt a deep sense of responsibility toward the women she recruited. After all, there was a good chance that she was sending them to their deaths. Atkins was born into a high-society Jewish family in Romania. Her mother was British and Atkins eventually moved to England, but her Romanian background meant she wasn’t automatically given a military rank when she joined the intelligence services. Neither were her female agents. If the women were captured, they wouldn’t qualify for prisoner of war status. Their fate might never be known. By the spring of 1945, Atkins was particularly worried about seven missing women, so she made it her job to find out what happened to them - even if that meant visiting prisons, interviewing the Gestapo, and learning more than she wanted to know about what went on in the Nazi concentration camps.
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Guest Bio

Vera Atkins was born in Romania but studied at the Sorbonne in Paris before settling in England. Joining  the French section of Britain’s Special Operations Executive in 1941, Atkins interviewed recruits, organized training and created cover stories for special agents sent into territory occupied by Nazi Germany. In her time she sent hundreds of agents into France but it was the female recruits that haunted her, particularly seven women who seemed to vanish.

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