Of Your Father, the Devil

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Virginia Hall

Working as a spy in the intelligence network, she made her way to Vichy, coordinating Resistance movements, assisting in Nazi sabotage, and rescuing downed Allies. She passed in plain sight of the enemy and soon found herself being hunted by the Gestapo.

The Backyardigans: International Super Spy (Part 1) - Ep.30

But Virginia cleverly evaded discovery and death, often through bold feats and escapes. Her covert operations, efforts with the Resistance, and risky work as a wireless telegraph operator greatly contributed to the Allies' eventual win.

Hall was born into a wealthy Baltimore family in In she took a job as a consular clerk at the U. Embassy in Warsaw, planning to pursue a diplomatic career. Those hopes were dashed the following year when she lost her lower left leg as the result of a hunting accident in Turkey.

The State Department in those days did not accept people with physical disabilities for the Foreign Service. With her extensive knowledge of France, her language skills and her American citizenship—America remained officially neutral at that point in the war—Hall was a natural recruit for the SOE. She did more than anyone else to forge the disparate, rivalrous groups of the French Resistance into effective military units that by could play a part in liberating their country.

From the outset, she seemed to have known she was different. Born in Baltimore in to conventional, upper-middle class parents, she insisted on going to university Radcliffe College, the bluestocking offshoot from Harvard and completing her studies in French, German and Italian in Europe. Unbowed and determined to relay the horrors of fascism to readers at home, she became a stringer in Europe for several American newspapers. By the summer of , as German Panzers rolled through France, she had found new work driving wounded soldiers from the collapsing French army to hospitals in Paris.

It was then that she had an idea. Although continually patronised and underestimated, Hall quickly adapted to the secret life, basing herself in Lyon, deep in collaborationist Vichy France, and exploiting her cover as a journalist.

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