Mrs Mahoney’s Secret War – Gretel Mahoney & Claudia Strachen

Description : The inspiring story of a courageous young woman who worked to defeat the totalitarian Nazi regime during the Second World War. 

Gretel helped to protect fugitives hunted by the Gestapo, hid her Jewish doctor in her cellar and passed to the resistance secrets learned from her work on the Enigma encryption machine. 

Finally arrested in 1945, she was liberated as the British Army advanced towards Hamburg. After the war, Gretel fell in love with a British officer. When he was transferred back to England, her determination and bravery were tested once more. 

My Thoughts

Mrs Mahoney’s Secret War is based on facts and interviews with Gretel Mahoney by her friend, Claudia Strachan. There is no sensationalism, no Hollywood glamour to it, yet despite its subject, it is written in a way that makes for an easy but thought provoking read. I found Gretel’s story both fascinating and educational. Prior to this I had never really thought about how the German people were affected by the war, how difficult life was for them and the aftermath of the war that they had to deal with for many years.

It also told of Gretel’s personal battles, some which came her way as a direct result of war and others that any young woman, anywhere and at any time has had to face.

I think the thing that struck me most about Gretel was her resilience and inner strength which prevailed for all her 91 years. It’s definitely a story that will stay with me.

About the Authors

Gretel Mahoney (nee Wachtel) was born in Germany in 1915 and was 24 years old when the Second World War broke out.  After the war, she moved to England, where she remained until her death in 2006.

Claudia Strachen was born in Germany and moved to England in 1993.  After meeting Gretel, who shared with her stories about her time in Hamburg during the Second World War, she spent the next nine years researching the historical background of Gretel’s story.

This book has previously been released under the title ‘A Different Kind of Courage : Gretel’s Story

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One thought on “Mrs Mahoney’s Secret War – Gretel Mahoney & Claudia Strachen

  1. I don’t think you’re alone with not thinking about how the Germans felt about the war Sue. The wounds and loss are too much of our own I guess to be empathic about how the ‘other side’ felt.

    Thanks for sharing your fab review.

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