Study Guide

Fräulein Anna Engel in Code Name Verity

By Elizabeth Wein

Fräulein Anna Engel

Oh, Fräulein Engel. On-Duty-Female-Guard-Engel; the Slave Girl; just plain old Engel—call her what you want, but she's one of the bigger surprises in the whole book, and she's there partly to show us that things aren't always what they seem.

As Julie writes her confession, she paints a pretty dark picture of Engel and how much Engel enjoys torturing her, throwing in quite a few really mean comments about Engel's appearance, love life, and personal hygiene, too. Then, when Engel makes contact with Maddie, we see how little of her heart was in working for the Ormaie Gestapo and find out she's been helping Julie since the very beginning. Of course Julie couldn't record any of this because von Linden was reading her confession, and she couldn't give Engel away.

Engel is about the same age as Maddie and Julie, but she looks much older, perhaps because it's a hard knock life working for the Nazi Gestapo. We see throughout the novel that she isn't treated very well there, which is why Maddie calls her the Slave Girl. But she proves herself brave, resourceful, and in some ways, a bit like Julie. Maddie says:

You know who she reminded me of—this is crazy. She reminded me of Eva Seiler.

Not of Julie normally, not really, but of Julie when she was angry. Made me think of her telling me the story of her mock interrogation under SOE training, in flat violation of the Official Secrets Act—the only time I can ever remember her chain smoking the way Engel does, and swearing like a dockworker.
(2.23.70-71)

When Julie played Eva Seiler, she was a German interrogator, which is exactly what Engel is also pretending to be. This reinforces the idea that Engel is playing a role—and very well, at that, since we never hear of her getting caught.

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