Nancy Wake painted by Rob Schamberger © 2017 Rob. All rights reserved.

Nancy Wake

Nancy Wake
Ink and watercolor on 9″ x 12″ watercolor paper
The latest addition to the ‘She Changed the World’ collection!

New Zealand-born Nancy Wake (1912-2011) was at one time the Gestapo’s most wanted person, due to her work with the French resistance. Growing up in a single mother household in Australia, Nancy ran away at age 16 to work as a nurse and later journeyed to New York and London, where she trained herself to be a journalist. During the 1930’s she worked in Paris and throughout Europe as a correspondent, where she firsthand saw the rise of Adolf Hitler and the violence against Jews.

After the fall of France in the 1940’s she became a courier for the French Resistance and by 1943 was the Gestapo’s most wanted person. She soon had to flee Marseille, but her husband stayed behind and was soon captured, tortured and executed. In Britain, Wake joined the Special Operations Executive and within a year was parachuted back into France to be a liaison between the British and the maquis. She aided in building up the size of the resistance group and led attacks on German installations, including the local Gestapo headquarters. On one occasion she used her Judo training to kill a Nazi with her bare hands.

Following the war she continued working in intelligence and ran multiple times for office in Australia. Seven different countries have honored her officially for her efforts during World War II. Nancy Wake grew up in a single-mother household, immigrated to several countries, worked as a journalist, became a freedom fighter and killed a Nazi with her bare hands. Pretty damn rad, if you ask me.