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Resistance: A Frenchwoman's Journal of the War

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  910 Ratings  ·  134 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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Apr 19, 2013 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 2013 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Marty Selnick
Feb 09, 2013 Marty Selnick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 13, 2015 Yani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: no-ficción
Mi diario se acaba el 13 de abril [de 1941]; sin embargo, mis recuerdos son tan claros que puedo escribir sobre ellos siguiendo un orden riguroso.

No podría calificar al libro con menos estrellas, debido a que es un diario y su forma es mucho más libre. Ha sido una gran experiencia meterme dentro de las anotaciones de Agnès Humbert, a quien no conocía hasta que hallé el libro de casualidad. Si bien sentía dudas sobre los momentos de confección del diario, la cita que añadí me indicó una posibl
Sep 27, 2009 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
Dec 24, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Dec 01, 2010 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca Budd
Résistance is a woman’s journal that was written in a very dangerous and terrible time. Yet during the darkest of the darkest moments and in the most desperate of circumstances, Agnès Humbert embodies courage, strength and purpose.

Résistance was founded by intellectuals who had no knowledge of espionage, intelligence gathering or secret codes. Their strength was drawn from moral anger and used brilliantly in their fight against tyranny and injustice. Agnès Humbert, a 46-year-old art historian an
An incredible first-hand account of what it meant to be a political prisoner in WWII. The integrity, bravery, and spirit of Agnes Humbert is clear on every page.

A passage I can't get out of my head:

Krefeld, 20 December 1942

The wardress tells us that a pastor is to visit us, bringing us festive wishes for Christmas. He appears as we are eating. Evidently he has had to make determined efforts in order to penetrate our strictly guarded quarters. An elderly man with a beaming face, he wishes us a ch
Dec 10, 2015 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!

Wow. What a story. I have read many different books about WWII, fiction and non, including one autobiography by a specific young Frenchwoman who helped many Jewish children in France. This memoir - part journal, part memoir, expands on that theme. It is the story of Agnes Humbert, who helped form and worked in the French Resistance, risking her life many times and landing in prison because of her efforts. In pris
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
Jun 18, 2013 Merrikay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 20, 2009 Pamela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
Kelsey Hanson
Agnes Humbert was a pretty incredible woman. She was tenacious and feisty (often to her own detriment) and unafraid to the right thing even at risk to herself. Reading about the early days of the French Resistance, it is unbelievable how naiive Humbert and her colleagues were. I'm not surprised that they were caught so quickly, but I can't help but be impressed by their courage. Her story was very interesting, but there are still a few loose ends that we might not be able to ever tie up (as is t ...more
Katherine Snider
Heartbreaking and frightening how unjust, ignorant and cruel people can be, and on such a massive scale even in our own time. It is only through self-deception that we can pretend that the Third Reich was an aberration far in the past that can't be repeated, that isn't in fact being repeated in some parts of the world today, or that one's own countrymen are somehow above or immune to human depravity. The preservation of human dignity is something we must foster and protect, not assume. Agnes Hum ...more
Aug 12, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author is so naïve and reckless, it’s a miracle she lived through the war! She and a group of her friends at the Musee de L’Homme set up one of the first resistance cells in Paris, but (although I admire her courage) it has to be said that their imprudent tactics and insouciant cockiness put themselves and others at risk. She wasn’t young and foolish either – she was in her forties.

In addition to facilitating the transfer of key personnel to safe territory, they also published a newspaper ca
 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
Apr 24, 2015 Chrismcginn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
First person account of life in Paris following Nazi occupation where she joined a resistance group promoting propoganda against the regime. She was later imprisoned in France and later Germany and forced to work as a slave laborer. Her spirit and life shine through even in the darkest recounting of the trials of her life as a 40+ year old woman in the grips of an evil regime. The first and end parts are taken from her actual diaries with the middle portion detailing her imprisonment recounted f ...more
Steph (loves water)
Brave, brave woman...what an amazing book. Love her recall, her style, and her humor. A recitation of horrific events told with humility and humor. So grateful for what she and others sacrificed during the Occupation.
Chelsea Elysse
Jun 24, 2016 Chelsea Elysse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazingly written memoir of a heroines struggle whom has an amazing sense of humour. This book is a great read and a part of our history we shall never forget.
Jul 14, 2015 Meigan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting first hand account of the origins of the French Resistance. Agnes Humbert's personal journal accounted for the first section of the book and she drew on her memories to complete the rest. The narrative begins when Paris falls to the Nazis, continues through her work in Paris creating the Resistance movement, to her arrest, trial, and years in a forced labor camp. Throughout the book Agnes' intelligence and wit come to light and she maintains her spirit and vivaciousness with a ...more
Eric Lawton
Mar 01, 2016 Eric Lawton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading the French version but my written French is a bit rusty so for Anglophone readers, here's my English review. I can't answer for the quality of the book's translation but the French is very plain so a straightforward translation will be perfect.

This is a spell-binding true account of a young woman who was a member of the French Resistance in WWII. Her courage and that of her friends and family is enormous.
I've read de Beauvoir's memoirs of the same period but found Humbert much more
May 25, 2016 Lois rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a blow-by-blow description of Agnes Humbert's involvement in the French Resistance, her subsequent capture, imprisonment and her endurance of forced labor during the Nazi regime. She describes the depravities that the women prisoners undergo- she gives witness to the Nazi mechanism of dehumanization. Agnes somehow maintains compassion for others and dedication to the cause of resistance under these horrifying conditions. She is a woman of her times and expresses some (now politically inc ...more
Jan 19, 2015 Mullgirl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle of this books is: “A Woman’s Journal of Struggle and Defense in Occupied France.” So I'm not sure if this is the exact match for this book--but it seems unlikely to me that she wrote more than one. Whichever way, it’s fascinating, sometimes horrifying and heartbreaking reading.

After reading the Diplomat’s Wife, I became more interested in the resistance movements in varying countries occupied by the Nazis during WWII. While on a trip to France, browsing a most fabulous book store, I
Dec 10, 2010 Callie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 06, 2015 Alisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, women-rule, wwii
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
Aug 23, 2011 Ann Canann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
Jessica Zu
Aug 04, 2011 Jessica Zu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 29, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
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Labor camps vs. slave labor camps 2 5 Apr 22, 2013 01:25PM  
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