On an icy dawn morning in Paris in January 1943, a group of 230 French women resisters were rounded up from the Gestapo detention camps and sent on a train to Auschwitz - the only train, in the four years of German occupation, to take women of the resistance to a death camp. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15, the eldest a farmer's wife of 68; there were among them teachers, biochemists, sales girls, secretaries, housewives and university lecturers. The women turned to one another, finding solace and strength in friendship and shared experience. They supported and cared for one another, worked together, and faced the horror together. Friendship, almost as much as luck, dictated survival. Forty-nine of them came home. Caroline Moorehead's breathtaking new book is the story of these women - the first time it has been told. It is about who they were, how and why they joined the resistance, how they were captured by the French police and the Gestapo, their journey to Auschwitz and their daily life in the death camps - and about what it was like for the survivors when they returned to France.
"A Train in Winter" covers a harrowing part of our history but is, ultimately, a portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and endurance, and of friendship.