Catherine Roux found herself taking part in the resistance from a very young age. At the age of fourteen she was already involved in political street demonstrations. She began by delivering letters to members within the resistance while working for a local factory in Lyon. She had to lie to her parents about the work that she was doing in order to protect them and herself. Her work grew from simply delivering mail, to directly helping those scheduled to be deported to Germany. She became the direct liaison between her firm and the German work Bureau. She would falsify documents in order to exclude people from forced labor. The resistance needed her presence in Paris and she answered the call.
From there she continued her work by moving to Paris under the title of a journalist. Her work in Paris began by attempting to recruit new members to the cause. This was incredibly dangerous and while recalling the ever-present worry of betrayal, Roux states; “sheep in our fold turned out to be wolves” (page 5). She then would code and decode messages that she would deliver to the other members of her resistance group. Due to the dangerous nature of her work she had to move locations every week. She saw other members arrested and tortured. Many did not survive, including her chief, Marcel Peck. Roux worked with his replacement to set up the future government in France. In secrecy she contacted the commissioners. On one of her delivery missions, Roux was compromised and arrested.
She was taken to Gestapo headquarters where she was interrogated and tortured. After a particularly bad day of beatings Roux attempted suicide in her cell. She had a pin hidden in her clothes and states; “I tried to open my veins with the pin but I couldn’t. The pin was just too thin” (Page 10). After her trial, Roux was moved to a more permanent location. She spent the rest of the war in Romainville, a Nazi prison camp on the outskirts of Paris.
Roux’s story is one of courage and determination but unfortunately it is one that is not often told. It was not until many years after the war that Roux was recognized and if it had not been for Margaret Weitz many women like Roux may have remained unknown heroes. She did not face direct combat but she lived everyday of the occupation in fear of beatings, torture, and execution. Catherine Roux represents the heroic role many women took during the resistance and unfortunately she represents the amazing women who were forgotten.