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The Housewife Spy

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How did a British housewife become a spy in WWII?

And how did a pair of dolls help her resist torture?

In 1941, when the Third Reich was at the height of his power, British intelligence recruited a French-speaking housewife named Odette Samon.  She was trained as a spy and sent into Nazi-occupied France to assist the French resistance.

A traitor betrayed her to the Gestapo.

She was captured and tortured.  The Gestapo wanted the names of every freedom fighter she knew.

But she never cracked.   And the reason why has something to do with two cloth dolls she made while in captivity.

These dolls are now in a place of honor in the Imperial War Museum, in a hall dedicated to medals of valor.

Why are the dolls in the museum?  And how did they help Odette resist torture?


All is revealed in Museum Secrets: Inside London’s Imperial War Museum.

Further Questions

Odette’s exploits were fictionalized in a feature length movie made in Britain in 1950.  You can watch the whole movie on YouTube.



Ellijay • #30 • 2018-04-02 11:14:56
Due to copywrite issues Odette starring Anna Neagle is no longer available on YouTube