Friday, September 11, 2015

Yvonne Oddon (1902-1982)

Yvonne Oddon was born 18 June 1902 in Gap, Hautes-Alpres to a protestant family. She graduated from the University of Michigan's library school at a time when few French people studied in America and became one of France's leading specialists in the comparatively new field of modern library science, When the Paris Musee de l'Homme opened its doors, she was appointed head librarian and was instrumental, before and after the war, in organizing France's libraries.

Yvonne was an early resister of the German occupation. In 1940 she took part, with Boris Vildé and Agnès Humbert, in the creation of a resistance group called the Groupe du musée de l'Homme, initially to help prisoners and aviators to escape. She was also present at the birth of the clandestine newspaper Résistance

On 10 February 1941 the participants of the group were arrested following their denunciation by an employee. On 7 February 1942, the six men in the group were sentenced to death, but for the three women, including Yvonne, the sentence was suspended and they were deported to Germany. She went to several prisons before being sent to the camp at Ravensbrück on 20 November 1944. Freed by the International Red Cross, she arrived back in Paris on 14 April 1945 as part of an exchange negotiated between the Red Cross and Heinrich Himmler.

Yvonne was awarded the rank of Chevalier (Legion d'honneur) for her resistance work and was later promoted to Officier. She died in 1982 and was buried at Menglon (Drome), Rhone-Alpes, France.

No comments:

Post a Comment