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Resistance: A Frenchwoman's Journal of the War
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Resistance: A Frenchwoman's Journal of the War

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  497 ratings  ·  95 reviews

Agnès Humbert was an art historian in Paris during the German occupation in 1940. Though she might well have weathered the oppressive regime, Humbert was stirred to action by the atrocities she witnessed. In an act of astonishing bravery, she joined forces with several colleagues to form an organized resistance---very likely the first such group to fight back against the o

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Published April 2nd 2009 by Tantor Media, Inc. (first published 1946)
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I am recommending this book to anyone interested in the political agitators that sought to fight the Nazis. I consider it one of the better books written on the subject. It begins and ends with transcripts of the author‘s diary entries. The first date from June 1940 to April 1941, ending two days before the author’s interrogation by the Gestapo. The final diary transcripts date from April 1945, four years later, after American liberation. The intervening section was written immediately after the...more
This is a truly excellent memoir. It is a unique account of WW11 told from the viewpoint of a French art historian whose acts of bravery and resistance eventually get her arrested. Despite deportation to Germany and two years in a slave labor camp, Humbert maintains her humanity, her sense purpose, not to mention her sense of humor. A wonderful example of these takes place after liberation. Agnes is put in charge of the local German population (her organizing abilities and her personal strength...more
This book is the actual journal of a Frenchwoman's experiences during World War II. At the start of the war Agnès Humbert was a bookish art historian working in a museum in Paris. After the occupation of Paris began Agnes and other staff at the museum were replaced by Nazi sympathizers. Together with some of her friends she decided to form a small resistance cell to share information and publish anti-Nazi propaganda in a pamphlet called 'Resistance'. This cell was composed of other middle classe...more
This book seems intriguing in spite of some of the three-star reviews it has received on Good Reads. For one, I'm not sure I could ever be "temporarily burned out on WWII" as one reviewer was; nor will the existence of substantial appendices, an involved cast of characters, or any unfortunate disimilarities to The Hiding Place be a serious issue.

Looking forward to it.

Having recently read Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise about life in Occupied France, I was intrigued to come across this astonishing journal by a woman who joined the Resistance (indeed helped found one of the earliest groups in Paris), was captured, and survived four years in French prison and Nazi slave labor camps. Her journal is first person, present tense, and, except for the years in prison, written at the time, as the events occurred. This gives it an immediacy and authenticity both pow...more
Agnès Humbert’s story is a remarkable one. A middle-aged Parisian academic who – by her own admission – had lived a lot of her life through books, but who nevertheless found steel in her soul when the Germans invaded in 1940. Joining up with like-minded friends and acquaintances, all inspired by speeches by the exiled Charles de Gaulle, she worked within Paris to drive forward a resistance and keep the notion of a Free France constantly in French citizen’s minds. However, that is only the first...more
This is the first thing I have read about the French Resistance other than a fictionalized short account. I am also ignorant regarding French history, so - grain of salt recommended. However, I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in that topic or the topic of resistance in general.

The first section of the book is a journal kept by Humbert during her experience as a founder of one of the first groups of the Resistance. The second section is in journal format but written after her exp...more
WOW. Bar-none one of the most compelling reads this year for me. I have been reading about the circumstances of WWII this year from many points of view purely by accident. This book by far exceeds the others. Perhaps it is because I find Agnes to be a testament to the strength of women. Also because most of literature on the subject of the Holocaust seems to be written by men, about men and about only the experiences OF men. This memoir reminded me of the story of Corrie Ten Boom from Haarlem, t...more
Humbert's diary really is riveting. Humbert was a founding member of a resistance group in France during occupation by the Nazis in WWII. Her diary describes not only the fall of France and founding a resistance group, but her imprisonment once she is caught and imprisoned. The bulk of the diary, in fact, describes her imprisonment and her experiences at work camps. The book itself presents a view that isn't too often seen in America. Some details that stand out are the reasons while some of her...more
Kathleen Hagen
Resistance: A Frenchwoman’s Journal of the War, by Agnes Humbert, translated by Barbara Miller, Narrated by Joyce Bean, Produced by Tantor Media, downloaded from

This is a republication of a journal that was originally published right after the war in 1946. It was very important then as it laid out what went on in the beginning of the French resistance after the Nazis took over. After Agnes was arrested for her Resistance activities, convicted, and ultimately sent to Germany as a pol...more
 Barb Bailey
This was a well written book that included Agnes Humberts' diary written during the occupation of Paris during WWII. Agnes was part of the original Resistance group along with 9 other patriots . Her remarkable story tells of her arrest, sentencing, and experiences while imprisoned in both France and Germany and then finally of her release. An excellent historical read...5 stars
You can't have any self pity after reading a book like this. I felt guilty reading it in my comfy bed piled with quilts while I munched cookies...Agnes is a prisoner of war during WWII and basically a slave laborer for the Germans. It was a riveting read and she is quite an extraordinary person. She never loses her sense of humor or of hope and she continues to find joy in good people and to help them in small ways even as she herself is dealing with the most extreme circumstances, cold, hunger,...more
Moving story, it is the journal of a young woman working as an art historian and living in Paris in 1940 when it is occupied by the Germans. Fearing for the future of her country, and restless at the idea of doing nothing about it, she becomes involved with a small group of people who create a newsletter, Resistance, which become synonymous with the anti-war movement. The group was betrayed to the Gestapo, and her and her colleagues were arrested and sent to prison and labor camps in Germany. Th...more
Ann Canann
This is an important book, well written and compelling. At a time when fewer than 50% of women worked, 46-year-old Agnes Humbert, was a distinguished art historian in Paris when WWII broke out. “Resistance” is her memoir . In the captivating first part from the summer of 1940 until her arrest in April 1941 she shares her nearly daily diary of life in Paris as a resistance worker during the capitulation and occupation of France. She was a feisty, kind, and brave intellectual who spoke many langu...more
Xiaomin Zu
An amazing book! One of my Dhamma friend talked about this book. I did not wanna read it at first, purely because I do not think I am interested in literature at all. But the historical importance of book is something I could not ignore. So I decided to take a look and I did not regret my decision.
I only hope that someone in China who endured similar struggles under the Japanese invasion during the WII would write down their memoires and have the history available to us.
It is very uplifting to...more
Agnes Humbert was an art historian turned member of the Resistance after Paris fell to the Germans in June, 1940. She, her family and much of the population of Paris fled the city as the Germans approached. Scenes of horror unfolded as she walked with masses of people from Paris to south of Limoges. Her account of her journey is immediate and heartrending.

Humbert was languishing in the countryside and sinking into despair when she heard a broadcast by General de Gaulle exhorting the French soldi...more
Alyce (At Home With Books)
I have read quite a few memoirs about living under the Nazi regime in World War II, but up until last year I hadn’t heard of this book, Resistance. Started as a journal, Agnes Humbert documented her thoughts about the Nazis entering Paris and her rebellious activities as one of the first members of the French Resistance. She wrote the journal in present tense, and kept the journal format even when writing the latter parts of the book (after she was liberated from a Nazi work prison).

Her account...more
One always seems to hear the French Resistance spoken of with such romanticism--but this is the first thing I've ever read by a member of the Resistance. Part of Agnes Humbert's memoir was written during the early months of the Occupation and the Resistance, before she and her group were betrayed and arrested by the Nazis. The rest was written right after the war, so there is a compelling immediacy to the whole story. And it is an amazing story of idealism, courage, and endurance. When Humbert w...more
I did not so much read this book, as I devoured it. The journal style -- first and last parts apparently taken from the author's actual daily journal -- simply sucks you in. You can feel the tension build. Though she could not carry on with a journal during her time in the labor camps, the author's recall of detail still makes it feel like she recorded her thoughts on the day of the events throughout the entire book.

But ultimately it's not about the labor camps and the unspeakable dehumanizing h...more
Hilary Hicklin
Agnes Humbert, an educated, cultivated woman already in her forties when the Germans occupied Paris, was quick to join one of the earliest Resistance movements in France. Inevitably perhaps the members of the group were caught and tried for “assisting the enemy”. The men were shot and Humbert escaped with her life and a prison sentence carried out first in France and then following deportation, at a viscose factory in Germany where , because of handling liquid viscose and acid without any protec...more


A 40something Parisian art historian -- divorced, with children who are young adults -- witnesses the fall of France and decides to work against the Nazis.

After several months of pamphleteering, starting in late 1940, she and most members of her little network are caught in early 1941, tried and convicted, with the men shot and the women (including Agnes) shipped off as political prisoners to perform slave labor for the Reich.

The book...more
I have read a decent amount of WWII fiction and a marginal amount of non-fiction and memoirs. For the most part, they have been war/fighting based or centered on a concentration camp victim. I think this is the first time I have ever read about the Nazi labor camps as opposed to the concentration camps.

Reading this true story, even this long after WWII, was both enlightening and heartbreaking. Agnes Humbert tells her story as she helps lead one of France's first resistance newspapers and the su...more
I found this account of life just before, and then after, the invasion of Paris, to be extremely moving and inspirational. It consists of the author's journal at first, and then from her extraordinary memory, as she lives through horrors, and cannot keep a written journal.

Agnès Humbert, a mother of two grown sons, also helps care for her mother, whose precarious health is made worse by the effects of the German invasion, including a torturous escape from, and then return to Paris. Agnès works fo...more
A uniquely written portrayal from one of the early French Resistance founders/members. Agnes Humbert's account of the earliest days of resistance in Paris is documented directly from a journal she maintained for several months in 1939, until she was captured and sentenced to 5 years of hard labour. While not "young" (she was in her early 40's, she survived unbearable conditions while imprisoned as a political prisoner in both France and Germany throughout the remainder of the war. Remarkably, th...more
Ryan Mishap
A forty three year old intellectual who long supported left causes and taught classes at the Worker's University, Agnes couldn't quietly submit when the Nazis took over Paris in 1940. With her co-workers at the museum where she worked, some friends and contacts from other avenues, they formed one of the first resistance groups. At first, they concentrated on leaflets and a paper--Resistance--but soon moved on to help British servicemen escape and pass on information about German installations.
Just give yourself time to get through the beginning of Agnes Humbert's Resistance. Since it is Humbert's diary, it starts right in the middle of her life. There is no need for her to describe all the people in her life since she already knows them. This makes it a little confusing at first, trying to figure out who everybody is and what they are doing with their Resistance news letter. However, by the time Humbert gets arrested it is clear who each person is in her life, and her story seems to...more
This book is amazing. I was lucky enough to receive it as a Goodreads Giveaway and boy am I glad to have won this treasure. The author of this diary was Agnes, a powerful voice against Hitler and fascism who worked hard in the French Resistance (and is credited to giving the establishment it's name) until she was arrested early in 1941 and kept prisoner at various slave labor camps throughout France and Germany. Her story is one of tragedy and perseverance and by far one of the best I've read. S...more
Agnes Humbert was a selfless patriot who wanted to do something to help France during the Nazi occupation. She ended up serving as a slave laborer for five or so years for her contribution to the Resistance. Patriotism sometimes seems to get some bad press these days, as though it is somehow naive or laughable to express any kind of patriotic thought. But it is people like Agnes Humbert who made a contribution, however small, to rid the world of the evil of Fascism. As she says towards the end o...more
Fifty or sixty million people were killed in World War II. There never will be an end to uncovering horrible, mesmerizing reports from that universal conflict. France has known Agnes Humbert’s remarkable work, “Resistance,” for six decades; it was published in English only in 2008. Here are accounts most Americans never have seen: Paris as the Nazis occupy the city, the first stirrings of the French Resistance in Paris, the trials Nazis still conducted for political prisoners, the sentences to w...more
Snowy/holiday week book #3 (I think?): Resistance, by Agnes Humbert. An amazingly inspiring journal of a middle-aged French woman who was caught in some anti-Nazi activities and subsequently thrown into jails and labor camps. Her strength during the whole experience is admirable, as is her sense of justice and humanity. After being freed from a labor camp, she immediately goes to work to improve the quality of life in the German town where she was held. Agnes Humbert is the kind of woman I hope...more
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Labor camps vs. slave labor camps 2 4 Apr 22, 2013 01:25PM  
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