female resistance fighters

Eritrean Soldiers

Eritrean soldiers during the 30-year long Eritrean War of Independence between Eritrean forces and the Ethiopian government. Women made up 30% of Eritrea's army of 100,000 soldiers and were a popular symbol of the liberation effort.

After Eritrea won its independence in 1993 women were given 30% of the seats in parliament and gained new legal rights. However some complained that they were treated more respectfully as fighters than they were as civilians.

Elena Haas

Elena Haas (1912-1945) was a Czech resistance fighter during World War 2.

A young woman beginning a career in civil engineering, Haas was 25 years old when Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938. She joined the Czech Resistance movement to fight against Nazi occupation, where her engineering skills made her an excellent saboteur, identifying where to plant explosive charges for maximum damage to structures.

In September 1944 she led a strategic raid, aided by a French agent and British special operatives. During this mission she successfully destroyed a key bridge and stocks of Nazi ammunition and supplies. 35 enemy soldiers were killed in the process.

Haas died in early 1945 leading a force of Czech partisans against a Nazi airfield near Prague. During the mission she was shot down, still firing her own weapon as she fell to the ground.