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Katherine Anne McCarthy

Katherine-Anne-McCarthyalso known as Sister Marie Laurence
One of the largest evasion groups was known as Musée de l’Homme. One of the group’s earliest members was Katherine Anne McCarthy, an Irish nursing sister from Cork. She had served previously as a nurse during the first World War and in 1940 she was serving as a nurse in the civilian hospital in Bethune.

During the fighting that raged across France in the summer of 1940, she found herself with several wounded British and French soldiers in her care. As these men recovered, she smuggled them out of the hospital and some of her earliest evaders made it through the lines to the beachhead at Dunkirk.

She later passed recovered patients on to one of the fledgling local Resistance groups and it was through this activity that she became involved with the wider work of the Musée de l’Homme movement. She was arrested at the Bethune hospital in June 1941.

At her trial she was condemned to death on the testimony of an informer. This sentence was commuted to deportation. During the next four years she was sent to various camps before being sent to the women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrück in December 1944. Miraculously she survived and was evacuated by the Red Cross in April 1944.