Malou – French Resistance Fighter is the story of my mother, a remarkable woman whose exploits during World War II deserve to be known throughout the world.

Ruth preferred to leave the past behind. For her, the present was always far more important. She held no ambition to reveal details of our lives during the war years in a book. Instead, she kept her letters and documents neatly stored and her memories close to her heart.

 It was not until my mother’s death in 2007, when sorting through her belongings, that I found her precious papers. Recognising their great historical value, I decided to donate them to the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne where they would find international recognition and would be preserved, shared and celebrated. My memories were also awoken by the many photos, dates and inscriptions I was so fortunate to discover in my mother’s files.

My painstaking research for this book was greatly aided by these documents, alongside the interviews and testimonies Ruth gave to the Jewish Holocaust Centre when she was in her late 80s, for which I am most grateful. I also drew heavily on online research, official war documents, historical events recounted in Recollections of the Ivria and two marvellous books that recount the role of brave French women like my mother during World War II: Les Parisiennes by Anne Sebba; and Dans les pas des Resistants by Danielle Darquié.

Of course, I also relied on my own memories of the war years, when I was a young girl. Each source provided a missing piece in this giant jigsaw puzzle—the untold story of my mother’s contribution to the liberation of France.

One of the questions often asked by readers of Les Parisiennes, is: was it justifiable for mothers working for the Resistance to compromise the safety of their children by using them as decoys in their missions?

As one of those children, my emphatic answer is yes.

This was a war with countless risks taken in the pursuit of freedom. I, daughter of Ruth, acknowledge with pride and honour, the small contribution I made in that fight for our freedom.

The book is published by Real Film and Publishing and is available for purchase from all great online bookstores.

Article by Author/s
Michèle Huppert
Michèle Huppert was born to Austrian parents in a small fishing village in the north of France at the beginning of World War II. Despite the deprivations of war, and the dangers to her family as both foreigners and Jews, Michèle has fond memories of her early years and she remains proud of her role as a child decoy in her mother’s Resistance missions. In 1952, Michèle and her mother Ruth immigrated to Australia to rebuild their lives. After completing her schooling at Mac. Robertson Girls’ High School, Michèle attended Zercho’s Business College where she developed the skills to build a successful career in the fashion industry and to manage the family finances. Michèle met her husband Paul Huppert in 1960 and together they built a happy home for their three children and many grandchildren. After Paul’s early death, Michèle felt blessed to enjoy a 17-year partnership with the late Eric Taft AO. Michèle and her mother remained extraordinarily close until Ruth died in 2007. More than a decade later, Michèle embarked on the significant task of writing Malou – French Resistance Fighter to share her mother’s remarkable story with the world.

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