By the time she died, Anne Spoerry was celebrated as 'the Mother Teresa of Flying Doctors', having improved the lives of an estimated 1,200,000 people during the course of her extraordinary career in Africa. As an aviator, physician and adventurer, she was celebrated for her courage and determination; as a young woman, she had worked for the French Resistance during the Second World War before capture by the Gestapo and imprisonment.
However, the way in which Spoerry managed to survive Ravensbrück Concentration Camp is altogether another matter.
For two decades, John Heminway was a friend of Spoerry's, yet during that time she revealed very little of her past to him. It would take Heminway another 10 years after her death to piece together fragments from records and testimonies, to unearth a portrait of a woman as complex as it is shocking.
Although she had been a victim of atrocities, Anne Spoerry was no saint; at a pivotal point in her life she too had been seduced by evil. And her crimes had led to exile, to her search in Africa for redemption.