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7. Escape into the Mountains (Season 2)

Good Assassins

iHeartPodcasts and Diversion

History, True Crime

4.83.4K Ratings

🗓️ 17 November 2022

⏱️ 39 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Virginia Hall’s identity was exposed. Now she had to get out of France and into Spain, and that meant an excruciating climb over 30 miles of tumultuous mountain terrain. Virginia knew that attempting the trek alone would mean death, especially given that she’d be hiking with her prosthetic leg. Luckily, Perpignan, the town she’d landed in, had a Resistance contact she knew fairly well. A man known to her by his codename: Gilbert.

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This series is based on historical characters and real events. Some dialogue has been imagined for dramatic purposes when no primary source material is available.


Virginia Hall's predicament was pressing a spy working for the Nazis she knew his father, a con real name Robert Aless had exposed her identity to the enemy.


Now she had to get out of France and into Spain and that meant an excruciating climb over 30 miles of tumultuous mountain terrain. It meant crossing the Pyrenees.


Well, it's a chain of mountains. It stretches from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean like it kind of belt. It's a very natural border between France and Spain. It's very wild.


That's Edward Sturton, a BBC broadcaster who made a commemorative trek across the Pyrenees some 70 years after Virginia Hall.


And gosh, it was brutal. I mean, it really, really was brutal. Some of it you're almost climbing. They put some guide ropes in so you can haul yourself up but just crumbling out rocks.


And it made you realize what it must have been like for the people who did that during the war.


After his trek, Sturton wrote a book called Cruel Crossing, escaping Hitler across the Pyrenees. About the people who fled occupied Europe via this mountain range during World War II.


I think that there is a strong sense that the memory of what happened then and the extraordinary heroism that people and generosity of spirit actually that people showed needs to be remembered.


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