Inspirational WWII French Jewish spy to speak at Rancho Santa Fe event


The Benedek Lecture Series of Chabad Jewish Center of RSF invites you to “Behind Enemy Lines, an Evening with Mrs. Marthe Cohn” on June 30.

Marthe Cohn was born in Metz, France in 1920. She was a devoutly religious Jewish woman living just across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power. As the Nazi occupation escalated, Cohn’s sister was sent to Auschwitz while her family fled to the south of France.

Cohn, though, chose to fight back and joined the intelligence service of the First French Army. Utilizing her perfect German accent and Aryan appearance, Cohn posed as a German nurse desperately trying to obtain word of a fictional fiancé. She traveled the countryside and approached troops sympathetic to her “plight” thereby obtaining critical information for the Allied commanders.

When at age 80 Cohn was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Medaille Militaire, not even her children knew to what extent this modest woman faced death daily to defeat the Nazi Empire. At its heart, this remarkable story is the tale of an ordinary woman who, under extraordinary circumstances, became the hero her country needed her to be.

In 2002, Cohn penned her memoir “Behind Enemy Line: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany.” She lives together with her husband in Palos Verdes, Calif., and travels internationally sharing her remarkable story.

Cohn will speak in RSF on Thursday, June 30, kindly hosted at the Benedek residence. Space is limited. For reservations and more information, please go online at or contact Chabad Jewish Center of RSF by calling 858-756-7571 or send an email to info@jewishrsfcom.