Connect Event - Dr. Marcelle Thiébaux '53 at New York Public Library

Lecture on German Espionage in the 1930s

Baronesses Beheaded : German Espionage in the 1930s

Date: Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Time: 1:15 pm

New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium

Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10018

Fully accessible to wheelchairs.  First come, first served

Marcelle Thiébaux began this project upon learning that some Germans and Americans were executed in Hitler's Germany by decapitation.  Two Prussian baronesses, left destitute by the War of 1914-1918, were rewarded as the daughters of heroes with trusted secretarial jobs.  They were paid less than men, naturally.  Finding they could earn extra money selling drafts and carbons from the office wastebasket, even papers from the office safe, they became traitors to the Reich.  For these women, their actions allowed a more genteel, less humiliating way of subsisting than prostitution, a desperate recourse for women of all social classes.  They were naïve.  A buyer of their secrets was an enterprising Polish spy, Jerzy Sosnowski (1896-1945?).  He lived in Berlin in the guise of a playboy, but trained by Warsaw.

How Thiébaux alters and weaves together historical facts to create historical fiction will be one of her topics.

Marcelle Thiébaux is the author of books and articles on medieval literature, among them, The Stag of Love: The Chase in Medieval Literature; The Writings of Medieval Women; and Dhuoda: Handbook for her Warrior Son. She has written about women of all centuries, including British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and American Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Glasgow.

An alumna of Smith College and the University of Connecticut, with a doctorate from Columbia University, a former Professor of English at St. John’s University, New York, Marcelle Thiébaux taught a seminar on medieval women at The Central European University in Budapest. There she began research on Princess Margit of Hungary at the National Széchényi Library. Her articles and short stories have appeared in literary magazines. She was an editor, studied acting and music and worked in a theater agency. She reviewed fiction as a non-staff writer for Publishers Weekly and The New York Times Book Review. At work on her next novel, Marcelle Thiébaux lives with her photographer husband in Sag Harbor and New York.

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