France honours wartime resistance fighter, 92

An Orthodox woman living in Manchester has been awarded one of France’s highest honours for her wartime activities on behalf of the French resistance.

Rose Warfman, 92, a retired nurse and social worker, has become an officer of the Legion of Honour, having previously been made a knight of the order 50 years ago.

Before the war, she worked for the Jewish social services in Paris, where colleagues included the widow of Alfred Dreyfus. After the Nazi invasion, she joined her sister Antoinette and brother-in-law Rabbi David Feuerwerker in Brive-la-Gaillarde in the south of the country and became an agent for the resistance movement, Combat. She also helped Jewish refugees during the war. She was arrested in 1944 and deported to Auschwitz, but was spared the gas chambers on the intervention of Josef Mengele after he discovered she spoke German.

In 1947, she played a key role in the story of The Exodus, the refugee ship intended to carry Holocaust survivors to a new life in Israel, arranging documentation to enable the passengers to travel. She moved to Manchester from Paris 13 years ago to be nearer to her children, Channah and Bernard. Her son is a dayan.

    Last updated: 4:00pm, April 14 2009