on November 23, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on A great way to spend a spy-thriller evening

A great way to spend a spy-thriller evening

I recently had the pleasure of attending a presentation by former French spy, Marthe Hoffnung Cohn. Marte is now 96 years old and she spoke for over an hour.

The lecture was at the Westminster Recreation Center at 104th and Sheridan. A similar event was held at the Arvada Center. Her visit was sponsored by Chabad of NW Metro Denver. Rabbi Benjy Brackman and his wife, Leah Brackman, are co-directors.

Marte was seated by her husband, Dr. L. Cohn, an anesthesiologist whom she met in 1956. But let me back up … Marte was born April 13, 1920. She was one of seven children in an Orthodox Jewish family who lived in Metz, France.

Hitler was rising to power, just across the border in Germany. After the liberation of Paris in 1944, Marte, now a nurse, enlisted in the French Army where she became a member of the Intelligence Service. Since she was blond and spoke perfect German, she was the perfect candidate to be a spy. After many failed attempts to get into Germany via Alccase, she was finally able to cross into Germany from Switzerland.

Having accomplished her first goal, she proceeded to gain the trust of German co-workers, who believed that she was a German nurse who was looking for her (fictional) missing fiancee. After gathering information, she would crawl back across the Swiss border to report her findings. Two important pieces of information she shared were: that northwest of Freiburg, the Siegried Line had been evacuated, and the location of where the German Army laid in ambush in the Black Forest.

At the end of the war, Marte returned to France and resumed her nursing career. In 1956, while studying in Geneva, she met an American medical student. They were married within three years and living in the United States. They are now both retired and spend much of their time together as they go around the country where Marte gives lectures. They sit together on stage. From time to time, she turns to her husband and asks for help with a word or phrase.

Marte has received many honors, among them are: Croix de Guerre, 1945; Medaille of Reconnassance de la Nation, 2006; and The Cross of the Order of Merit, Germany’s Highest Honor.

Marte Cohn is a remarkable woman and the tiny woman has the stamina of people half her age. At one point during the lecture, she asked the audience if she should stop at that point, or continue with her spell-binding story. Of course, the crowd roared its approval for her to go on.

Her story is one for the ages and I consider it an honor to have heard her. She is much more than a Holocaust survivor. She is a true Hero.

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