Eighty years ago today — June 16, 1943 — Noor Inayat Khan was flown to France on a small Lysander plane to take on the dangerous job as a wireless operator for Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Nazi-controlled France. The daughter of a Sufi mystic from India and of an American mother, Khan became an unlikely World War II heroine.
Join us today in person for a talk by Arthur J. Magida, author of the Pulitzer-nominated and film optioned Code Name Madeleine: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris. Magida will share the rich details he gleaned about this valiant young woman from dozens of interviews and previously unknown manuscripts, documents, and letters. How did a person raised in a lush suburb of 1920s Paris—an introspective musician and writer, dedicated to her family and to her father’s spiritual values of harmony, beauty, and tolerance—become a risk-taking radio operator behind enemy lines? Khan did not seem destined for wartime heroism. Yet, faced with the evils of Nazi violence and the German occupation of France, Khan joined the SOE and trained in espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance. For crucial months of the war, Khan was the only person transmitting critical information to London from Paris, significantly aiding the success of the Allies on D-Day. After Magida’s presentation, guests are invited to ask questions about this remarkable woman and her inspiring life.
Magida will sign books after the program.