Samuel Beckett was born a century ago: supposedly on April 13 1906, but typically, there’s some doubt about the actual date. It’s not as well known as it should be that he joined the French Resistance very early – formally in September 1941 but de facto sooner. He aided Jewish friends, translated messages, acted as a courier, and stored weapons. A citizen of neutral Ireland, he could easily have stayed clear, or written long-windedly about the moral dilemmas involved without doing anything much, like Jean-Paul Sartre.
It take a particular kind of moral courage to do the right thing at great personal risk in the total absence of hope.