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Without Frontiers [Paperback]

Helene Jeanty Raven
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (1973)
  • ISBN-10: 0340181729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340181720
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual story 24 Sep 2011
Search for "Hélène Jeanty Raven" in Google Books she appears to be little more than footnote, referenced in passing due to her late marriage to the Anglican theologian Charles Raven, or because of some letters she received from Albert Speer that came to light in 2007. Her memoir <em>Beyond Frontiers</em> shows why she is of interest in her own right. The story can be divided into two halves: in the first, we read of her war work and suffering under the Nazis, and in the second, of her post-war activism on behalf of refugees, for the fair treatment of German prisoners, and for international reconciliation.

At the start of World War Two, Hélène and her first husband Paul Jeanty were living an upper-middle class life in Belgium. War brought dislocation, and eventually tragedy when the two of them were arrested after taking in an RAF airman. They both faced execution, but there was a chance of survival if she could convince the court that she was mentally unstable and had brought the airman to her house without her husband's permission. Following some contrived courtroom histrionics she was committed to a mental hospital and moved to Germany, but Paul - as she discovered only after her release - was eventually shot by the Nazis.

After the war, Hélène was asked by the Judge Adovate-General to return to Germany to give evidence about Nazi war crimes. She did so, confirming that the director of the German asylum where she had been held was a non-Nazi who had colluded in her feigned illness to protect her. She then took an apartment in Paris, where she became friends with "Gabriel Marcel, Jean Schlumberger, Daniel Halévy, and Raymond Aron".
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