Born in 1912. Died in 2011. Within those almost 99 years lies a story of a woman who fought greatly against the Nazis in World War II, risking her life to end the violence around her.
This woman was named Nancy Wake.
Nancy was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. Her father left her family (mother and siblings) to go back to New Zealand shortly after Nancy had become settled in North Sydney. For the first portion of her life, she lived quite normally, but she ran away when she was 16 to work as a nurse. Later, using some money that her aunt had given her, she traveled to New York and London to train herself as a journalist. Working in Vienna one day, she witnessed Nazis beating Jewish men and women in the streets, which was what lit the fire in her heart to put an effort into changing things.
Throughout the time of World War II, Nancy became a courier of the French Resistance, joined escape networks, joined the SOE (Special Operations Executive), brought weapons to her group and led attacks on German installations. The Gestapo gave her the codename White Mouse, because she was always able to elude capture. Once, she was captured and interrogated for 4 days, but they did not know it was the White Mouse, and eventually released her. She was considered the Gestapo’s most wanted person, with a five million franc reward placed on her head.
One story I remember very clearly was when she was in an undercover raid, she was spotted by an SS sentry, who went to raise the alarm and ruin the mission. Before he could reach the alarm, she killed him with her bare hands. One quick judo-chop was all it took (which she learned at SOE).
I would go into more details about these experiences, but I must do some more research in order to fully understand what it was she did during that time. Also, why would I want to explain everything about my eminent so soon in the project?
Alright, so now it’s my second time around doing the eminent person project. This year I’m really excited and I’m not anxious like I was last year. I suppose experience is a friendly face when it comes to projects (or just Talons in general). Now, Nancy (this year) and Malala (last year) are very different from each other, so I can’t really improve based on content because they are in different categories. However there are some aspects of my presentation I would like to improve from last year. This year I am going to make my learning center BIG. Now, I’m not sure how I’m going to do this quite yet, but I want to make some sort of scene where I can act out. This will be a great improvement from my boring poster board I had last year (Hey, it was grade 9. I didn’t know how big a deal Night of the Notables was).
Definitely one thing I’m going to be learning a lot about is World War II. To be honest, I don’t know very much about it, other than the basic facts. I hope that it gives me more understanding and insight into history.
Time to hit the books and learn about this amazing woman!