During World War II, Helene Moszkiewiez worked within the Belgian Resistance and maintained three identities, Jewish, Belgian and German, working for two years as a clerk in Gestapo headquarters in Brussels. "They were so stupid," she told Geoffrey Molyneux of The Province in 1985. "They thought only in caricatures. You know, the Jewish man with a long black beard and a large hooked nose. Many of the Gestapo were the dregs. They were just there because they were cruel. The Abwehr intelligence men, now they were bright and you had to be careful when they were around." While residing in West Vancouver, having married her husband Albert and moved to Canada after the war, she wrote her memoirs, Inside the Gestapo: A Jewish Woman's Secret War (Macmillan, 1985). The Germans took control of Belgium when she was 19. Two years earlier she had met a handsome young Belgian soldier named Francois in a Brussels library. When she met Francois again and he was operating with a different name while wearing a German Uniform, she accepted his offer to work within the Belgian Resistance to undermine the Nazis. Her story recalls false identity papers, helping POWs escape, working within the Gestapo, hearing screams of SS victims, stealing information to rescue Jews scheduled for transport and killing a Gestapo officer. "We heard about the camps from the BBC," she recalled, "but so many Jews seemed to think it couldn't happen to them. You know, it could happen again. Jews have to be ready to fight."


Inside the Gestapo: A Jewish Woman's Secret War (Macmillan, 1985; UK: Bodley Head, 1986; Dell, 1987; Warner Books, 1992)

[BCBW 2006] "War" "Jewish"