26 June 2007

George Cross: V. R. E. Szabo


Ensign, Women's Transport Service (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry); attached Special Operations Executive

Born: 26 June 1921, Levallois-Perret, France
Died: February 1945, Ravensbrück, Germany

Citation: Madame Szabo volunteered to undertake a particularly dangerous mission in France. She was parachuted into France in April, 1944, and undertook the task with enthusiasm. In her execution of the delicate researches entailed she showed great presence of mind and astuteness. She was twice arrested by the German security authorities but each time managed to get away. Eventually, however, with other members of her group, she was surrounded by the Gestapo in a house in the south west of France. Resistance appeared hopeless but Madame Szabo, seizing a Sten-gun and as much ammunition as she could carry, barricaded herself in part of the house and, exchanging shot for shot with the enemy, killed or wounded several of them. By constant movement, she avoided being cornered and fought until she dropped exhausted. She was arrested and had to undergo solitary confinement. She was then continuously and atrociously tortured but never by word or deed gave away any of her acquaintances or told the enemy anything of value. She was ultimately executed. Madame Szabo gave a magnificent example of courage and steadfastness.

(London Gazette Issue 37820 dated 17 Dec 1946, published 13 Dec 1946.)

Note: The above citation is incorrect in its details; Mme Szabo was actually captured when she met up with elements of 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" at a crossroad. ZUI this biography and these pictures.