Muriel Gardiner: Hero
Muriel Gardiner was a close family friend. We shared a large house and farm outside of Princeton with her, her daughter Connie and her husband Joe who had gotten out of a French interment camp after heading the Austrian resistance. Her own anti-fascist activities later made Muriel the unwitting model for Julia in the movie with Vanessa Redgrave. Lillian Helman had simply appropriated her life. Muriel, like Julia In one of the most gripping scenes based on Muriel’s story, was at the medical school when the Nazis attacked. Soon after she began to help Jews and other dissenters. She was given the code name “Mary.”
It is almost impossible for me to imagine the courage it took for Muriel to voluntarily share the anxieties of Jews waiting for the knock of the Gestapo at the door-- as Anna Freud wrote in the foreword to Muriel’s memoir, Code Name Mary, every hidden socialist or Jew searched for and found in Muriel’s apartment would have meant the end, not only for him but for her; every trip to the border escorting refugees or carrying their photographs, every return bringing false passports, could have ended in disaster.
Miraculously she survived. She has always been a shining example to me of what one lone person who is ready to sacrifice her own good for her fellow beings can do against an unjust regime.
Causes Brenda Webster Supports
Doctors Without Borders
The Nature Conservancy
Women Support Women