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Bag Lunch Arts — Hall of Mirrors: Virginia Hall — American’s Greatest Spy of WWII
February 18, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Few Americans know our country’s first and greatest spy of the Second World War was a disabled woman from Baltimore named Virginia Hall.
Recruited by British intelligence at a time when the US had not entered the war, Virginia became the Allies’ first agent to live and spy on the Nazis behind the lines in Vichy France. She was an elusive spy, constantly changing names and safe houses to avoid capture by the Gestapo. But in the winter of 1942, her luck ran out. She was betrayed by one of her agents and as Gestapo Chief Klaus Barbie closed in, Virginia made a harrowing escape over the snow-capped Pyrenees, dragging her prosthetic limb behind her. Once safe in Spain, Virginia demanded to return to France to continue the fight. Her British spymasters refused, calling it a suicide mission. She was too well known and Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyon” was still hunting her. But Virginia ignored the dangers–certain capture, horrible torture, a painful death–and returned to France with the new American spy organization, the OSS, on the eve of the D-Day invasion.
Craig Gralley, a former senior officer of the CIA, will discuss his recently published book, Hall of Mirrors, which is based on the true story of Virginia Hall. Hall of Mirrors has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, in the Washington Post, CNN and other national media. The book took six years to research and write and includes material from the archives his former employer, the CIA. Craig also will be available to sign copies of his book.
For a complete list of upcoming scheduled Bag Lunch programs click here. Our monthly Bag Lunch Arts Series spotlights authors, artists, performers, and speakers sharing their talent and knowledge. Held on the third Tuesday of most months at 12 noon in the Rogow Family Community Room. Patrons are encouraged to bring along a bag lunch to enjoy before the program. Cookies and coffee are courtesy of the Friends of the Library. Programs last approximately one hour.