Adrienne Poirrier was born in 1902 in Mauprevoir, France. Her husband Raymond was killed during the German invasion of France in 1940, leaving her with a young daughter. Working as a bookkeeper in a suburb of Paris, she joined the French Resistance. Her job at a city hall enabled her to steal ration coupons and blank ID cards, which were distributed through the underground network to Jews in hiding. Questioned three times by the Gestapo, she escaped arrest the third time only because her daughter Paulette removed the ration stamps hidden in their home and rode the Paris metro all night with the contraband. Paulette later married an American soldier, Robert Hinders, who brought her and her mother to Dayton in 1947. Adrienne died in 1984 but her daughter contributed her story for this exhibit.
The French Resistance, “Maquis,” or “Underground,” better known but less effective than similar movements in Poland and Czechoslovakia, was directed from London by the Free French government in exile. Most Maquisards had little military training and could not offer much support to the Allies. However, many of them did help fugitive Jews. In some cases the entire Jewish population of towns or villages was saved. Often Jewish children were passed off as Catholic members of French families, and some did not rediscover their Jewish origins until decades later.