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

Mrs Mahoney's Secret War is a spellbinding account of the life of a young woman in Hamburg during the Second World War. Gretel Wachtel (later Mahoney) bore witness to the disappearance of her best friend during Kristallnacht, the infamous night of atrocities against the Jewish population in 1938, and during the war she endured the constant bombing of the city by the Allies, surviving the firestorm caused by Operation Gomorrah.

An unguarded anti-Nazi comment resulted in her being forced to work in an ammunition factory, but she didn’t lose her desire to fight the totalitarian regime. She married a resistance fighter, helped the local priest to protect fugitives hunted by the Gestapo and hid her Jewish doctor in the cellar of her house.

Called up to serve as a typist in the Wehrmacht, Gretel allied herself with the resistance, passing on secrets learned from her work sending and receiving messages via the Enigma encryption machine. Finally arrested by the Gestapo in 1945 and taken to an internment camp, she was liberated as the British Army advanced towards Hamburg. After the war, Gretel fell in love with a British officer, who, to her distress, was transferred back to England.

The story of a free-spirited young woman living in a world where few dared to speak up, Mrs Mahoney's Secret War is an inspiring tale of determination and bravery.


The untold story of an extraordinary young woman's resistance to the Nazis

The Bookseller

A very well-written, fast-moving book . . . [it] has all the ingredients for a Hollywood blockbuster


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 15, 2011

    Mainstream Publishing

    288 pages

    RRP $22.99

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  • Mrs Mahoney's Secret War
    Claudia Strachan



    June 2, 2011

    Mainstream Digital

    288 pages

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