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Resistance: A French Woman's Journal of the War
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Resistance: A French Woman's Journal of the War

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,195 ratings  ·  164 reviews

A real-life Suite Française, this riveting diary by a key female member of the French Resistance in WWII is translated into English for the first time.

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 awful atrocities she witnessed. In an a

Hardcover, 370 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 1946)
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Patricia There isn't vulgarity in the book, but the physical and mental suffering caused by deliberate cruelty and total disregard for the humanity of the…moreThere isn't vulgarity in the book, but the physical and mental suffering caused by deliberate cruelty and total disregard for the humanity of the women prisoners would be too much for young teens, I think.(less)

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Feb 08, 2010 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
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 (¿cuándo escribe? ¿cómo recuerda todo?)
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Marty Selnick
Sep 25, 2011 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
Sep 27, 2009 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
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.

Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An astonishing account of one woman's involvement in the French resistance, her arrest, imprisonment, and experience during three years at German slave-labour camps. Agnes Humbert's account has both immediacy and candour. She survives unimaginable horrors and throughout somehow retains the determination to resist the Nazis even with the smallest acts of defiance and sabotage. An incredible story of WWII.
Nov 28, 2010 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
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nf-history, nf-bio
Another memoir from an eye witness to the horrors of WWII. Humbert's journal gives the reader an opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and textures of an era. It plunges the reader into the atmosphere of that first year of Nazi occupation of France, into the minds and hearts of the first Resistance members. She was an intelligent and courageous woman who stubbornly refused to give up, during captivity and forced labor, her spirits never wavered. Her determination is humbling.
3.5 stars

Sep 01, 2009 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
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an amazing record of life in France in 1940 after the invasion by the Germans. Agnes Humbert kept a journal of her daily life from the beginning of June 1940, and even this journal was bordering on foolish with the intensive scrutiny and activity by the SS and their fear of any criticism or protest against their regime. Agnes, along with numerous others from her workplace at a museum in Paris, helped pioneer the resistance movements as they sought to fight the Nazi propaganda and also alert ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
Just in case there's any sense of forgetting, or worse, denying how vile the Nazis were, this chronicle of a French woman political prisoner appears in English translation, decades after it was published in France in 1946. Technically a journal only up to the point when Humbert's means of recording her experiences were taken away by her captors, the stark and vivid recollections of the author's months and years in confinement, neglect, abuse and forced labor offer testament against the depravity ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Indrukwekkende biografie vna Agnès Humbert over haar tijd in het verzet, maar vooral in gevangenschap in Frankrijk en later Duitsland. Haar boek of memoires zijn technisch gezien maar deels uit een dagboek afkomstig en voor het grootste deel later geschreven met ongelofelijke precisie. In tegenstelling tot sommige anderen oorlogsdagboeken is het een heldere, feitelijke en nuchtere kijk op de wereld om haar heen, met een dosis optimisme en hoop. Haar gevangenschap vooral in Krefeld was zeer zwaar ...more
Agnes Humbert jumps off the pages of this book. She is so vibrant and alive, you go right along with her, feeling what she feels. Hard to put down, especially once one gets into the second quarter of the book.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A painful, heroic story of survival

What do you do when your beloved city is occupied? How do you respond?

This journal/memoir tells the story of a middle-aged educated professional woman who finds herself part of the earliest resistance to the Nazi/ Vichy regime, and who pays dearly for it. Originally published in 1946, the author was awarded the Croix du Guerre for her resistance.

The book reads quickly even if the material in it is jarring and traumatic, all the more because it is not a work of
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Alyce (At Home With Books)
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
 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
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.
Sharon McNeil
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. Gripping.
Chelsea Elysse
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most amazing thing about this book is probably how Agnès Humbert retains her sense of humour through all the horrible things that happen to her. The English title is somewhat misleading, as the resistance activities in occupied France actually only take up a rather small portion of the book; the rest is about her experiences in the various German prisons and factories where she is held as a forced labourer. Those experiences are about as awful as you might expect, and Humbert's insightful, s ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not written in the style of The Hiding Place, which for me is a most excellent book. This book combines a small amount of journal writing and a large amount of writing that occurred after the war. It is simply telling what happened as you would to a good friend over coffee. Because of this it can, during some parts, appear to just go on and on. But, with patience and respect for this incredible true story, even the parts that seem to be drawn out are filled with important information. All of it ...more
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Labor camps vs. slave labor camps 2 5 Apr 22, 2013 01:25PM  
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Agnès Humbert was an art historian, ethnographer and a member of the French Resistance during World War II. She has become well known through the publication of a translation of the diary of her experiences during the War in France and in German prisons at the time of the Nazi occupation.