Holocaust survivor who spied on Nazis to speak at Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Holocaust survivor who spied on Nazis to speak at Lake Tahoe

Special to the Bonanza
Marthe Cohn was born into an Orthodox Jewish family as one of seven children living across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power. She's seen here at a recent book signing.
Courtesy Philippe Hansch |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Marthe Cohn was a devoutly religious 19-year-old French Jewish girl when the Nazis invaded France in 1939. Her life then took a turn so extraordinary, it could have been pulled straight from a Hollywood movie script.

While the rest of her family fled south, Marthe decided to fight back. After graduating from nursing school, she joined the French resistance and, on account of her perfect German accent and Aryan appearance, she was recruited to be a spy.

Carrying forged identification papers, she infiltrated German territory in the guise of a German nurse desperately searching for a fictional fiancé (by this time her real-life fiancé had been executed by the Nazis).

During the next year, Cohn mingled freely with Nazi troops, on many occasions caring for injured Nazi soldiers in order to maintain her cover. She gathered invaluable information on troop positions which she secretly relayed to Allied commanders.

Her intelligence gathering was instrumental in allowing the Allies to break through the Seigfried line and enter German territory in 1945, leading to the end of the war.

On Sunday, Aug. 16, at 7:15 p.m., Cohn will share her remarkable story at The Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel in South Lake Tahoe in an evening coordinated and sponsored by the Chabad Jewish Center of Lake Tahoe.

“It is rare that we have the opportunity in our lifetime to meet a heroine the likes of Marthe Cohn,” said Rabbi Mordey Richler from the Chabad Jewish Center. “I encourage every resident of Lake Tahoe, young and old, to come hear this remarkable woman tell her incredible story of courage, faith & espionage.”

Following the event, Marthe Cohn will be available to sign copies of her memoir, “Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany.”

Tickets are $15 and or $18 at door (walk-ins welcome while seats last). Tickets and more information are available at https://marthecohntahoe.eventbrite.com or by calling 530-314-7677.

This article was submitted by the Chabad Jewish Center of Lake Tahoe. Visit jewishtahoe.com to learn more.