Squirrel is Alive: A Teenager in the Belgian Resistance and French Underground
by Mary Rostad with Susan T. Hesse
“Squirrel Is Alive is a charming memoir of a young Belgian resistance fighter whose exploits during the German occupation of her country were the stuff of legend. As a young woman, she served as a courier transferring information, arms, and ammunition between resistance groups, defying the Nazis and leading a daring and adventurous life. Her journey took her into the arms of a liberating American soldier and into small-town America where she worked as a nurse.” – Michael Berenbaum, Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies and Director, Sigi Ziering Holocaust Institute
Launch Date: June, 27, 2023
Join us for the Squirrel is Alive Book Launch on Tuesday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m. at Pearl Street Books, 323 Pearl Street in downtown La Crosse.
Mary Rostad was only sixteen years old when Nazis conquered her home city of Brussels in 1940. She joined the resistance movement, serving in Belgium and later France, as a courier of underground documents. Adopting the code name “Squirrel,” she walked over one thousand miles in frigid temperatures, far away from her home and her family to report on the movement of German troops. This heroic story challenges us to consider how we would act if faced with adversity.
Buy the Book
Order from Fulcrum Publishing.
"A marvelous story that needs to be told, as inspiring as any autobiographical account of strength and fortitude in Holocaust writing today." – Tom Arlt, Aquinas High School, La Crosse Wisconsin
"A compelling account of courage, sacrifice and defiance. Mary's heroic story inspires readers to do what is right and stand up against oppression." – Dana Humphrey, Ft. Zumwalt School District, O'Fallon, Missouri
"Mary Rostad's teenage resistance in Belgium's underground against the Germans during World War II marks her as a very formidable person. Her 1986 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award commemorates Mary's outstanding qualities as a person who preserved the richness of her immigrant heritage." – Dr. Bill Younglove, California State University Long Beach
"Mary did so much during a time when so many could do nothing. Reading her experiences will permeate our souls, making us all better people." – Dave Nelson, Westby Area High School, La Crosse, Wisconsin
About the Author
Hessel is a personal historian dedicated to preserving life stories of individuals. A board member of the Association of Personal Historians, she is especially honored to work with those who have stood up in the face of repression and adversity.