French World War II Heroine Fought To 105

When France surrendered to Germany in 1940, Andree Virot Peel and her friends slipped the words of Gen. Charles de Gaulle into letterboxes: "France has lost a battle, but she has not lost the war." Host Scott Simon offers a remembrance of Peel, a French resistance heroine who died earlier this month at the age of 105. She helped dozens of American and British pilots escape and escaped death herself at the hands of the Nazis.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

And a life to note this week. When France surrendered to Germany in 1940, Andree Virot Peel and some friends typed the words to General Charles de Gaulle, broadcast in defiance from London, and slipped them into letterboxes: France has lost a battle, but she has not lost the war.

Andree Virot would help save more than 100 downed Allied pilots. She became known in the resistance as Agent X and Agent Rose. The Germans caught up with her after D-Day, tortured her, and sent her into concentration camps. She was about to be shot by a firing squad in April 1945 when American soldiers arrived like the cavalry.

Andree Virot kept the striped tunic she was forced to wear in the camps but she was also decorated with the Legion of Honor, the U.S. Medal of Freedom and the King's Commendation from King George.

Andree Virot Peel was 105 when she died this week. She earned every year.

(Soundbite of music)

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