This timeless memoir documents two sisters’ bravery leading up to WWII – a singular historical account that shines a light on one of humanity’s darkest hours.
Ida and Louise Cook are two ordinary Englishwomen, seemingly destined never to stray from their quiet London suburb and comfortable jobs – Ida as a budding romance novelist and Louise as a civil service typist. But in 1923, a chance hearing of an aria from Madame Butterfly sparked a passion for opera in the sisters that led to the formation of friendships with some of Europe’s leading singers and their network, many of them Jewish. As the Nazis rose to power, Ida and Louise began working with the opera world’s insiders to save members of the community from persecution and death. Through ingenuity, thrift and bottomless goodwill, the sisters eluded the suspicion of the Nazis and helped secure safe passage for dozens of refugees. No one would have predicted such daring lives for Ida and Louise Cook – but that underestimation is exactly how they were able to save lives.
First published in 1950, Ida’s memoir of the adventures she and Louise shared remains as fresh, vital and entertaining as the woman who wrote it, and is a moving testament to the extraordinary acts of courage by two everyday heroes.