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Virtual Event: Code Name Madeleine: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris
with Arthur J. Magida
During the critical summer months of 1943, Noor Inayat Khan was the only wireless operator transmitting secret messages from Nazi-occupied France to the Special Operations Executive in England. She was a most unlikely spy. As the daughter of an Indian mystic, raised in a household devoted to peaceful reflection on the outskirts of Paris, Khan did not seem destined for wartime heroism. Yet, faced with the evils of Nazism, she could not look away. She volunteered to help the British; was trained in espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance; and returned to France under cover of night with a new identity and a code name: Madeleine.
Khan transmitted countless details crucial to the Allies’ success on D-Day, until she was captured and imprisoned by the Gestapo. She attempted two daring escapes before being sent to prison in Germany. Three months after the Allied invasion of France, she was executed at Dachau. Her last word was “liberté.”
Arthur J. Magida is writer-in-residence at the University of Baltimore and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. He has been a columnist for Beliefnet.com, a contributing correspondent to PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, senior editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times, environmental reporter for National Journal, and a writer and editor for Ralph Nader. He is the author of The Nazi Séance. He has received multiple Simon Rockower Awards from the American Jewish Press Association, A.D. Emmart Awards for writing on the humanities,and Smolar Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.