In London, intelligence analysts, led by Reginald V. Jones, marveled at the quality of the information they were receiving from Paris, notably a startling document called the Wachtel Report. Delivered in September 1943, it identified the German officer in charge of the rocket program, Col. Max Wachtel; gave precise details about operations at the testing plant in Peenemünde, on the Baltic coast in Pomerania; and showed planned launch locations along the coast from Brittany to the Netherlands.
Relying on this information, the British organized several bombing raids against the plant, which delayed development of the V-2 and spared untold thousands of lives in London.
In “1940-1944: The Secret History of the Atlantic Wall” (2003), the historian Rémy Desquesnes called the Wachtel Report a “masterpiece in the history of intelligence gathering.” When Mr. Jones asked who had sent the report, he was told that the source was known only by the code name Amniarix, and that “she was one of the most remarkable young women of her generation.”
Jeannie Yvonne Ghislaine Rousseau was born on April 1, 1919, in Saint-Brieuc, in Brittany. Her father, Jean, a veteran of World War I, was a senior official with the foreign ministry and, after retiring, the mayor of the 17th Arrondissement in Paris, on the Right Bank. Her mother was the former Marie Le Charpentier.
Adept at languages, Ms. Rousseau performed brilliantly at the elite Sciences Po, graduating at the top of her class in 1939. When war broke out, her father moved the family to Dinard, in Brittany, which he thought would be beyond the reach of the Germans.
When the occupying forces arrived, Ms. Rousseau agreed to act as interpreter for town officials and kept her ears open. “The Germans still wanted to be liked then,” she told The Post. “They were happy to talk to someone who could speak to them.”
In September 1940, an unidentified man asked her if she might be willing to share the information she gleaned from her conversations with the Germans. “What’s the point of knowing all that, if not to pass it on?” she recalled telling him, in her interview with The Post.
As German suspicions grew, she was arrested in January 1941 and interrogated at the prison in Rennes. She was released for lack of evidence and ordered to leave the region.
She returned to Paris and,…