OnThisDay in 1944, four female members of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) were executed at Natzweiler Concentration Camp in the Vosges Mountains. Andree Borrel (Codename Denise, Age 24), Vera Leigh (Codename Simone, Age 41), Sonia Olschanezky (Codename Tania, Age 20) and Diane Rowden (Codename Paulette, Age 28) were escorted, one by one, to the camp’s crematorium where they were instructed to undress for a “medical examination”, injected with phenol to incapacitate them and then placed into an oven. Some witnesses have stated some of the agents were not unconscious when placed in the oven and fought their captors.
Their names appear on the Vera Atkins seat in the Allied Special Forces Memorial Grove. This memorial bears the names of female SOEs who were captured in France when working as couriers or wireless transmitters and were then brutally murdered in concentration camps.