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Ruth Knowles (Mitchell)

Birthplace: Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Death: Died in Belas, Portugal
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Lendrum Mitchell, US Senator and Harriet Danfurth Mitchell
Ex-wife of Stanley Knowles
Mother of Ruth Van Breda Yohn
Sister of William "Willy" Ledrum Mitchell, Sr., Gen., Father of the Air Force and John Lendrum Mitchell, Jr.

Managed by: Private User
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About Ruth Knowles

Ruth Mitchell was an author and gained some fame as a volunteer fighting the Germans with Yugoslavian partisans in World War II.

During World War II, Ruth Mitchell distinguished herself by participating in resistance to the Nazi invasion of Serbian territory under General Mihailović, leader of Chetnik forces.

See an article about Ruth Mitchell's achievements during WWII at


Ruth Mitchell wrote the book The Serbs Choose War'.' It was published by Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1943.


Ruth Mitchell was stationed in Albania with her husband Stanley Knowles, a British diplomat. After the Italian attack on Albania, she moved to Yugoslavia, and after the German invasion joined the Chetniks. She was captured by the Gestapo, and put on trial, condemned to death, but later reprieved, and sent to jail. Diplomatic wrangling accomplished her release in 1942, and Mitchell returned to the United States, where she devoted her life to supporting the war effort, and in particular the cause of the Serbian Chetniks (pg. 5). 21

The case of Ruth Mitchell does not weaken, but actually reinforces the male image of the Chetnik forces. Women among the Chetniks were an exception that proved the rule, and Ruth’s stories about how Chetnik commanders were extremely reluctant to accept her prove that she was able to join only after convincing Kosta Pećanac that she was as capable as any man. Ruth herself said that she was accepted only because she could “ride just about anything on four legs” and was ready “to die like a man.”

Source: Downloaded October 13, 2013, from

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Ruth Knowles's Timeline

Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
May 15, 1969
Age 81
Belas, Portugal