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  • John Murray

Two Against Hitler: The True Story of Two Courageous Sisters, a Rescue Mission in the Third Reich, and Opera

Isabel Vincent

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Second World War

An extraordinary account of two British sisters whose obsession with opera became a cover for their roles in helping Jewish refugees flee the Nazis during World War II--a true story that is part Schindler's List, part The Sound of Music and all but forgotten, until now.

Born in the early 1900s in small-town England, the Cook sisters--Ida, a budding Mills & Boon novelist, and Louise, a civil service typist-were single, like many in the Great War generation. They devoted their free time to their passion for opera, making frequent pilgrimages in the 1930s to Germany and Austria to see their favorite stars, many of them Jewish.

Along with the charismatic Austrian conductor Clemens Krauss - a favorite artist of Hitler - the Cooks helped form a cabal of opera world insiders who worked in secrecy to deliver Jews from Nazi persecution, all as the threat of war descended. With their seemingly oblivious disposition and gaudy attire, the sisters eluded suspicion of Nazi spies, eventually helping dozens Jewish members of the opera community find safe passage to London--men and women who otherwise would have likely perished in the Holocaust.

Based on original research and packed with vivid details--many revealed here for the first time--Isabel Vincent's Two Against Hitler will join the ranks of Hidden Figures in shining the spotlight on the extraordinary contributions of women in wartime.

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