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 one part Schindler’s List, one 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 romance 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 of Hitler’s), the Cooks helped form a cabal of opera world insiders who worked in secrecy to save Jews from Hitler between 1937 and the outbreak of World War II. With their seemingly oblivious disposition and gaudy attire, the sisters eluded suspicion of Nazi spies, eventually helping over two dozen 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 bestselling books like Code Girls and Hidden Figures in shining the spotlight on the extraordinary contributions of women in wartime.
Get recommended reads, deals, and more from Hachette