We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The Franc-Tireur resistance group was formed in Lyons in 1941. Led by Jean-Pierre Lévy, the group was made up up socialists, communists and liberals committed to the idea of an independent republic.

In December 1941, the group began publishing Le Franc-Tireur. People who worked for the newspaper including the famous historian, Marc Bloc. Based in Lyons the group also had members in the Mediterranean area, the Auvergne, and the Limousin.

In May 1943, Jean Moulin persuaded Franc-Tireur agreed to join forces with Front National, Comité d'Action Socialiste, Liberation, Combat and the Armée Secrete to form the Conseil National de la Resistance.

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Francs-tireurs

FRANCS-TIREURS ("Free-Shooters"), irregular troops, almost exclusively infantry, employed by the French in the war of 1870–1871. They were originally rifle clubs or unofficial military societies formed in the east of France at the time of the Luxemburg crisis of 1867. The members were chiefly concerned with the practice of rifle-shooting, and were expected in war to act as light troops. As under the then system of conscription the greater part of the nation's military energy was allowed to run to waste, the francs-tireurs were not only popular, but efficient workers in their sphere of action. As they wore no uniforms, were armed with the best existing rifles and elected their own officers, the government made repeated attempts to bring the societies, which were at once a valuable asset to the armed strength of France and a possible menace to internal order, under military discipline. This was strenuously resisted by the societies, to their sorrow as it turned out, for the Germans treated ​ captured francs-tireurs as irresponsible non-combatants found with arms in their hands and usually exacted the death penalty. In July 1870, at the outbreak of the war, the societies were brought under the control of the minister of war and organized for field service, but it was not until the 4th of November—by which time the levée en masse was in force—that they were placed under the orders of the generals in the field. After that they were sometimes organized in large bodies and incorporated in the mass of the armies, but more usually they continued to work in small bands, blowing up culverts on the invaders’ lines of communication, cutting off small reconnoitring parties, surprising small posts, &c. It is now acknowledged, even by the Germans, that though the francs-tireurs did relatively little active mischief, they paralysed large detachments of the enemy, contested every step of his advance (as in the Loire campaign), and prevented him from gaining information, and that their soldierly qualities i n proved with experience. Their most celebrated feats were the blowing up of the Moselle railway bridge at Fontenoy on the 22nd of January 1871 (see Les Chasseurs des Vosges by Lieut.-Colonel St Étienne, Toul, 1906), and the heroic defence of Châteaudun by Lipowski’s Paris corps and the francs-tireurs of Cannes and Nantes (October 18, 1870). It cannot be denied that the original members of the rifle clubs were joined by many bad characters, but the patriotism of the majority was unquestionable, for little mercy was shown by the Germans to those francs-tireurs who fell into their hands. The severity of the German reprisals is itself the best testimony to the fear and anxiety inspired by the presence of active bands of francs-tireurs on the flanks and in rear of the invaders.

34 Powerful Images of the Heroic French Resistance Against the Nazis

The French Resistance was the collection of French movements that fought against the Nazi occupation as well as the collaborationist Vichy regime during the Second World War. The French Resistance played a significant role in facilitating the Allies&rsquo advance through France after the successful landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

The French Resistance provided the allies with military intelligence on the Nazi defenses known as the Atlantic Wall as well as general information on Wehrmacht deployments. The Resistance planned, coordinated, and executed acts of sabotage on the electrical power grid, transport facilities, and telecommunications networks.

After the landing in Normandy, the paramilitary Resistance became more organized and hierarchical. They established themselves as the French Forces of the Interior (FFI). In June 1944, the FFI was estimated to have 100,000 men but by VE Day in May 1945, the FFI had grown to the fourth-largest army in the European theater with 1.2 million men.

After the Battle of France and the second French-German armistice which was signed on June 22, 1940, the brutal tactics employed by the Nazi and Vichy regime to ensure French submission created a discontented minority to form paramilitary groups dedicated to the resistance. One of the most critical conditions of the armistice was that French pay for the upkeep of a 300,000-man army for their own occupation at 20 million reichsmarks per day (400 million franks per day). The overvaluation of the Nazi currency in effect created an operating system of organized plunder. Prices soared, leading to widespread food shortages. French Prisoners of War and the compulsory labor for the Service du Travail Obligatoire, the deportation of about 650,000 laborers to Nazi Germany, caused a labor shortage in France. The Nazi regime also murdered 30,000 French civilians to intimidate the resistance fighters.

British historian Ian Ousby writes: &ldquoEven today, when people who are not French or did not live through the Occupation look at photos of German soldiers marching down the Champs Élysées or of Gothic-lettered German signposts outside the great landmarks of Paris, they can still feel a slight shock of disbelief. The scenes look not just unreal, but almost deliberately surreal, as if the unexpected conjunction of German and French, French and German, was the result of a Dada prank and not the sober record of history. This shock is merely a distant echo of what the French underwent in 1940: seeing a familiar landscape transformed by the addition of the unfamiliar, living among everyday sights suddenly made bizarre, no longer feeling at home in places they had known all their lives.&rdquo

Gaullism, a political stance named after French Resistance leader and founding President of the Fifth French Republic, General Charles de Gaulle, supported a patriotic resistance to the Nazi invasion. In the Appeal of June 18, 1940, de Gaulle asked every patriot join the Free French Army to fight the Nazis. The most celebrated moment in the Free French 2 Armored Division was the liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944.

On August 19, 1944, the FFI staged an uprising against the Nazis as the US Third Army, lead by General George Patton approached the French capital. On the night of August 24, part of General Philippe Leclerc&rsquos 2 French Armored Division entered Paris. The next morning, the rest of the 2 Armored Division and the US 4 Infantry Division entered Paris. Dietrich von Choltitz, commander of the Nazi occupational forces and military governor of Paris was forced to surrender.

Immediately following the liberation, France was swept by a wave of executions, public humiliations, assaults and detentions of suspected collaborators known as the èpuration sauvage (savage purge). Approximately 9,000 collaborators and members of the pro-Nazi Vichy Milices army were executed. Between 10,000-30,000 women accused of collaboration with or having relationships with Nazis or Vichy had their heads shaved and were paraded around town.

Based on figures from June 1944, it is estimated that the FFI killed at least 2,000 Nazis and Vichy. It is estimated that 8,000 resistance fighters were killed in action, 25,000 were executed. About 86,000 were deported and sent to work in labor camps and 27,000 were murdered in death camps.

Nazi flag flies over Paris with the Eifel Tower in the distance. Pinterest WW2 French resistance poster. Pinterest A French armored column passing through the small French town of St Mere Eglise 6 June. 1944. nicolaslbouliane Battle of Paris, Aug 1944: Father Camille Folliet, a French Roman Catholic priest, lends his support and advises the French Resistance behind a barricade during the Battle for Paris, which took place from 19 August 1944 until the surrender of the occupying German garrison on 25 August 1944. Photo by Robert Doisneau. &ldquoWe knew that something would happen soon because the train from Paris didn&rsquot reach Caen &ndash the lines had been sabotaged. That evening I heard two messages &ndash ‘the dice are on the table&rsquo, meaning we should sabotage railway lines and ‘it&rsquos hot in Suez&rsquo, meaning we should attack telephone lines.&rdquo- André Heinz, a member of the French Résistance. nicolasbouliane A young Parisian helps the Résistance erect a barricade, Paris, August 1944. nicolasbouliane Général Leclerc relaxes with men of the 2e DB near Fleuré, 16 August 1944. nicolasbouliane Parisians man a barricade during the uprising, August 1944. nicolasbouliane French Resistance fighters aboard a Citroen Traction Avant amid jubilant scenes during the liberation of Paris, August 1944. Pinterest &ldquoIn Paris, we had one great advantage &ndash which was a tradition of popular uprising. There was the revolution of course in 1879, but after that 1830, 1848, above all the Commune in 1870. There was a body of doctrine. We knew how to do it. &ndash Maurice Kriegel Valrimont, French Résistance. nicolasbouliane French resistance Molotov cocktails Paris, Aug 1944. Robert Doisneau Parisian Resistance fighters shooting from behind trees during the liberation of the city. nicolasbouliane Parisian resistance fighters shooting at Nazi occupiers from a window. nicolasbouliane A woman of the French resistance movement who is a member of a patrol routing out Germans snipers still left in areas of Paris France on August 29, 1944. She is carrying a German Schmeisser submachine gun or MP40. Pinterest Simone Segouin who went under the name Nicole Minet was 18 years old at the time of the invasion of France. A French Resistance fighter and a member of the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (FTP) group, Nicole captured 25 German prisoners during the fall of Chartres, this was witnessed by both American troops and journalists. After the liberation of Paris where Nicole also fought, she was promoted to lieutenant and awarded the Croix de Guerre. Pinterest Paris 1944 French Resistance. Place Saint-Michel during the Liberation. Robert Doisneau.

What's the story behind this execution?

Post by Panzermahn » 08 Nov 2010, 17:50

I was reading David Kahn's classic, Hitler's Spies: German Military Intelligence in World War II and I came across these three pictures. Does anyone knew what is the story behind their execution apart from what is stated in the caption?

Pictures from page 504 and 505

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by Ypenburg » 08 Nov 2010, 21:28

Nachname: Wende
Vorname: Josef
Dienstgrad: Grenadier
Geburtsdatum: 12.08.1926
Todes-/Vermisstendatum: 28.09.1944
Josef Wende ruht auf der Kriegsgräberstätte in Andilly (Frankreich) .
Endgrablage: Block 30 Reihe 8 Grab 569

Nachname: Kotas
Vorname: Stefan
Dienstgrad: Grenadier
Geburtsdatum: 06.12.1918
Todes-/Vermisstendatum: 28.09.1944
Stefan Kotas ruht auf der Kriegsgräberstätte in Andilly (Frankreich) .
Endgrablage: Block 30 Reihe 8 Grab 572

"On September 24,1944, the young infantryman Josef Wende together with his comrade Stephan Kortas was send across the Mosel to recon the American lines. They were discovered by the American sergeant Skaboro and captured. On October 18, 1944 they were sentenced to death as being spies and on 11 November 1944 shot in the garden of a farmhouse at Toul. "
Source: "Alliierte Verbrechen an Deutschen" by E. Kern, 1980.

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by heimwehr danzig » 08 Nov 2010, 23:20

If they were shot as spies then I take it they were captured in either US Army uniform or civilian clothes?

I ask because at the time of their execution both are in German uniform (although I cannot make out any badges/insignia) and I wonder how likely it is that the Americans would have German uniforms available in which to dress prisoners for execution. The link below to the Operation Grief thread shows a German POW about to be shot still in his US uniform.

If they were in German uniform when captured, how can they be spies?

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by David Thompson » 08 Nov 2010, 23:57

Panzermahn's source, Hitler's spies: German military intelligence in World War II by David Kahn, says at p. 363 that the men were captured in civilian clothes, posing as Polish slave laborers. . 22&f=false

I don't have any information on the stock of captured German uniforms the allies may have had available by Oct 1944 from their campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France.

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by Panzermahn » 09 Nov 2010, 17:28

Ypenburg wrote: Josef Wende and Stefan Kotas, both mentioned here: . 0&t=142851

Nachname: Wende
Vorname: Josef
Dienstgrad: Grenadier
Geburtsdatum: 12.08.1926
Todes-/Vermisstendatum: 28.09.1944
Josef Wende ruht auf der Kriegsgräberstätte in Andilly (Frankreich) .
Endgrablage: Block 30 Reihe 8 Grab 569

Nachname: Kotas
Vorname: Stefan
Dienstgrad: Grenadier
Geburtsdatum: 06.12.1918
Todes-/Vermisstendatum: 28.09.1944
Stefan Kotas ruht auf der Kriegsgräberstätte in Andilly (Frankreich) .
Endgrablage: Block 30 Reihe 8 Grab 572

"On September 24,1944, the young infantryman Josef Wende together with his comrade Stephan Kortas was send across the Mosel to recon the American lines. They were discovered by the American sergeant Skaboro and captured. On October 18, 1944 they were sentenced to death as being spies and on 11 November 1944 shot in the garden of a farmhouse at Toul. "
Source: "Alliierte Verbrechen an Deutschen" by E. Kern, 1980.

Thanks for the additional German source. David Kahn stated that Wende and Kostas were ethnic Poles drafted into Germany Army and was caught masquerading as Polish slave labourers while wearing civilian clothing. However Erich Kern mentioned that they were sent for reconnaisance and were captured and executed after being sentenced as spies.

However looking again at the photographs in Kahn's book, it seems that Wende and Kostas were wearing German uniforms (devoid of insignias though) judging by the bergmütze and schirmütze they were wearing respectively, I think Kern's version is more credible though it is possible that the Americans may provide them German unifoms to wear on the day of their execution (though I think it is highly unlikely that it could happen).It seems plausible that Wende was wearing a Luftwaffe fliegerblaus (lack of buttons)

Does anyone know how to accessed NARA files on their execution? I am pretty sure that the Americans interrogated them and recorded it down together with the judgement of the military tribunal that sentenced them to death

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by Panzermahn » 09 Nov 2010, 17:52

Josef Wende and Stefan Kotas, both mentioned here: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=142851

Günther Ohletz
Stefan Kotas
Josef Wende
Hubert Albrecht
Hubert Rawe
Erwin Brian (sentence for life)
Josef Müller (sentence for life)
Günther Schulz
Curt Bruns
Richard Jakszyk/Jarczyk (executed 28.04.1945)

I remember I read about Richard Jarczyk in Biddiscombe's book Werewolf! History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement 1944-1946 (University of Toronto Press 1998) and The Last Nazis: SS Werewolf Guerrilla Resistance in Europe 1944-47 (2006)

"In the Rhineland, a Polish Volksdeutsch named Richard Jarczyk infiltrated American lines, where he obtained civilian clothing from a sympathetic German woman and in March 1945 got himself hired by an American MIlitary Government detachment at Bruckweiler. Jarczyk was such a conscientious employee that he was soon considered for an appointment as the Bürgermeister of a local town, although his suspicious behaviour eventually gave him away. Since his real mission was sabotage, murder and espionage, he was persistent in his efforts to obtain travel permits, and this gradually aroused the interest of the CIC. Subsequently he was arrested, tried and executed on 23 April [note 64]"

Note 64 = History of the Counter Intelligence Corps, vol. 19, 57 vol.16 NA and The Washington Post, 24 April 1945

Page 106, Werewolf! History of the National Socialist Guerrilla Movement 1944-1946

Photos from page 10 and 11 of the book Werewolf! and page 157 of the book the Last Nazis

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by Panzermahn » 09 Nov 2010, 17:57

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by Ossian » 10 Nov 2010, 04:57

Good question. I know that at least some military commission cases of the period can be found in the Record Group containing the records of the Judge Advocate General. The record of trial and allied papers in the Anton Dostler case for example, tried in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, can be found in various boxes and folders associated with Case File 16-115 in entry 143, Record Group 153. This suggests that other cases from the combat theaters could be located in the same series.

It is also possible that the military commission case files regarding spies in the European Theater of Operations are to be found in the records of the Judge Advocate section of the ETOUSA, or, equally likely, in the Judge Advocate Section of the Headquarters, 12th Army Group. This case was tried by a military commission convened by the Third Army and sent to the 12th Army Group for confirmation. After execution, trial papers were to be forwarded to the Staff Judge Advocate of the 12th Army Group for record-keeping purposes. I believe the surviving records of that headquarters would be the best starting point to look for them at NARA.

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by Panzermahn » 10 Nov 2010, 07:15

Good question. I know that at least some military commission cases of the period can be found in the Record Group containing the records of the Judge Advocate General. The record of trial and allied papers in the Anton Dostler case for example, tried in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, can be found in various boxes and folders associated with Case File 16-115 in entry 143, Record Group 153. This suggests that other cases from the combat theaters could be located in the same series.

It is also possible that the military commission case files regarding spies in the European Theater of Operations are to be found in the records of the Judge Advocate section of the ETOUSA, or, equally likely, in the Judge Advocate Section of the Headquarters, 12th Army Group. This case was tried by a military commission convened by the Third Army and sent to the 12th Army Group for confirmation. After execution, trial papers were to be forwarded to the Staff Judge Advocate of the 12th Army Group for record-keeping purposes. I believe the surviving records of that headquarters would be the best starting point to look for them at NARA.

Thanks for the infos. It would be interesting to see what the records and documentation mentioned about these spy trials. Biddiscombe mentioned in his book The Last Nazis that Jarczyk attempted sabotage while wearing civilian clothing.

Another interesting conjecture is that if the Germans captured the 50 RAF aircrew who escaped from Stalag Luft IV, gave them trials and sentenced them to death for "attempting sabotage while in civilian clothing" rather than executing them summarily after recapture as what has happened, would the Germans be charged by the Allies for war crimes?

I would be interested to see any provisions in the Hague Conventions regarding the sentencing or punishments for the crime of "attempting sabotage" (implying that a sabotage has not or may not happened yet)

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by PFLB » 10 Nov 2010, 11:05

Yes because the charge would be spurious and an obvious cover for summary execution. Many German and Japanese war criminals were convicted for carrying out executions through the instrumentality of a show trial.

The Hague Conventions are not criminal codes and therefore do not deal in depth with concepts like 'attempt'. Article 29 of the Hague Regulations defines 'spy' to include a person who 'obtains or endeavours to obtain information in the zone of operations of a belligerent, with the intention of communicating it to the hostile party'. Since the undisputed right of belligerents to try spies and saboteurs exists in order to allow them to safeguard security in territory under its control, it would be nonsensical if they could try an accused only for a completed offence, and not for an inchoate offence such as attempt, conspiracy or solicitation, or for subsidiary offences such as accessory after the fact. All such concepts are, for example, part of the Military Commissions Act 2009 (US). In practice I believe you would find that military tribunals will answer the question of what constitutes an attempt, conspiracy or solicitation by reference to the domestic criminal law with which they are familiar.

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by Panzermahn » 20 Nov 2010, 16:39

Page 68, Brandenburgers: The Third Reich's Special Forces by Ian Westwell (Ian Allan Publishing 2003)

Anyone know more about this?

Re: What's the story behind this execution?

Post by PFLB » 21 Nov 2010, 06:44

This statement is misleading, at least insofar as it expresses as unqualified a legal view which was actually highly contentious. Most states and commentators have traditionally taken the view that almost any use of the enemy's uniform in a military operation is prohibited. The current position of the US military, based on the Skorzeny Case, is actually an exceptional one: see Dieter Fleck, Handbook of International Humanitarian Law (2008) rule 473. For example the UK MoD Joint Service Manual on the Law of Armed Conflict (2004) gives the use of enemy uniforms in rear areas for training purposes, or to effect an escape of POW's, as examples of permissible use, whilst stating that it is prohibited for special forces to wear enemy uniforms behind enemy lines: para 5.11.1.

Bad AH you just HATE!

Er--like, how? Drop nukes on everyone still standing after WW2?


I'm certain that all of us here has come across some form of alternate history with some type of idea so fundamentally flawed it makes you want to scream. My question is: what is it, and why?

For me, it's anything involving a long-term Nazi-Soviet alliance based on cooperation. Both of these two sides HATED each other, and both only used the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact as a way to deal with their secondary goals quickly while both sides plotted to screw one another over at a later date. Hitler just got in first.

Most of the answers on this thread really boil down more to the personal prejudices of the posters than on any intrinsic flaw in the AH. I personally am pretty liberal with regard to the POD, and even the flow of the AH from the POD. Just about anything MIGHT have happened, even if it was not likely to happen.

What I think makes for bad alternate history is not so much the ideas behind it. however unlikely those ideas might be. but careless research (or complete lack of research). It is really irritating to read an alternate history where the author gets basic details of history wrong. For example, the research in the "Stars and Stripes" series was just abysmal. Harry Harrison got things as simple as Jefferson Davis's middle name and where he was born wrong. things you could look up in any encyclopedia, for crying out loud. And the hash he made of basic technical details like saying the magazine of the Spencer Rifle held fifteen shots (actually it held seven) was just downright irritating. This is easily the worst-researched AH I have ever read. That is the kind of stuff that just makes me want to scream.

Massacre at Andelot. 12th September 1944. The third Battalion of the French regiment "Marche du Tchad" Leclerc at the village of Chaumont, in Haute Marne Andelot. About 500 German prisoners of war were gathered in a barn. A tank commander gave the order to the tank to shoot into the crowd. Limbs flew through the air. Those not yet dead, was massacred with machine guns.

40 German soldiers killed brutally in Tulle on 8 June 1944 by the French Maquis Resistance Movement. The small German garrison at Tulle on the 7th June 1944 was attacked by Bolshevik partisans. Even after the fighting ended, the French maquisards then shot captured German soldiers. The "Partisans-Francs-tireurs" knew exactly what they were doing. Among them were Polish, Spanish Reds, and also four-uniformed Soviet Bolsheviks. After completion of the fighting, they shot more than 12 German prisoners below the cemetery, after this the Chateau Lorraine Abbot had granted absolution. Another mass execution took place in the woods, where another priest before the execution of about 20 German prisoners granted absolution. A total of about 120 unarmed German soldiers were shot after their capture. The bodies were been mutilated in an inhuman way.

Agony of Freudenstadt. In April 1945 the city was severely affected by bombing and artillery shelling by French troops under General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny . German troops in advance had set up a roadblock in the Murg Valley, and shot some French tanks. Freudenstadt was pounded by about 16 hours of artillery. It was also hit by American bombers. The main water line broke and there was not enough water available to clear the many fires that broke out. Approximately 600 buildings, 95% of the total core city were on the night of 16th to 17th April 1945 by direct or indirect influence destroyed and 1,400 families rendered homeless.

During the subsequent invasion by the French troops, there was considerable violence, rape and abuse. Many of the buildings that had been spared were claimed by the French occupiers. Many families lived in makeshift basement. Freudenstadt is just one example of the serious mistreatment of the civilian population by the colonial troops of the British and French. Götz Aly pointed out, that "every village in southwest Germany would report rape by black soldiersm" They were "no different than the Russians"

General Leclerc on May 8, 1945 in Bad Reichenhall had twelve French volunteers of the 33rd Waffen-SS Division "Charlemagne" shot "without trial.

It is well known that the French General Leclere, on 8 May 1945, the date of the surrender of the German Wehrmacht, shot twelve French soldiers in Bad Reichenhall, they belonged to the Waffen-SS Division "Charlemagne," they were shot without trial - a war crime. Later it was known that Leclerc’s division, on the road from Normandy to German Brechtesgarden had committed many war-crimes. None of these war-crimes were ever brought to court. Contrary General Leclerc became a hero in France after WWII.

French historian Daniel Guérain investigated into what happened. During his investigation he interviewed witnesses and visited the German and French sites of the fighting. He wrote down his findings in the book "the other side of the legend, history of liberation" . The historian reports of eye witnesses, also reflected in the French Division. They tell of numerous, often gruesome murders of German prisoners, especially members of the Waffen-SS. They said that, for example, soldiers of the Division Leclerc doused German prisoners of wars with gasoline and watched them burning. At the airport, Le Bourget, near Paris, there had been a massacre of hundreds of German prisoners of war who were crushed by Leclerc tanks .

Lieutenant Robert Galley was particularly brutal while this happened. The French soldier Albert Bisson describes what happened at Andelot (Haute-Marne), during violent struggles between French and German troops. . The French suffered losses, but then broke the German resistance. … A large number of "Boches" as the soldier called themselves surrendered As they approach another 500 prisoners of war. Lieutenant Galley said "Wait!" . Feuer!.“ He drove the Germans in a barn, over his microphone and commands: "Turn to the left. Stop! Hand grenade! Fire!. " The grenade exploded in the middle of the . the Boches. The splinters tear their bodies, body parts stuck to the beams of the barn. We shoot those who survive with machine gun, all still living. Today is the day of vengeance! " Although Lieutenant Galley was guilty of war crimes and, as Director of Studies Pohl, he boasted openly on television, he was a minister under de Gaulle, Pompidou and Giscard d'Estaing and was active as treasurer of the party of French President Chirac.

Leclerc with De Gaulle

French Treatment Of German POW

In the notorious camp in the Sarthe District for 20,000 prisoners, inmates received just 900 calories a day thus 12 died every day in the hospital. Four to five thousand are unable to work any more. Recently trains with new prisoners arrived at the camp several prisoners had died during the trip, several others had tried to stay alive by eating coal that had been lying in the freight train by which they came.

There's a fine line between resistance and terrorism, and that's just one of the ideas explored in Robert Guédiguian's latest French pseudo-reality melodrama, The Army of Crime

1939-1945: Spanish Resistance in France

An account of the activity of Spanish anarchist and anti-fascist exiles in the Resistance in Nazi-occupied France. Tens of thousands were forced to flee Spain following fascist victory in the Civil War.

Forgotten Heroes

"How many lands have my feet trod and my eyes seen! What terrible scenes of desolation of death I witnessed in those years of continual war. Adverse circumstances had made us, anti-militarists, the most battle hardened soldiers of the Allied armies" - Murillo de la Cruz

There are many myths and controversies concerning the French Resistance during the Second World War. The "official" line, from the point of view of the Gaullists, ascribes great significance to the radio appeal broadcast by Charles de Gaulle on June 18th 1940, calling on the French people to continue the fight against the Germans. But for at least one major component of the Resistance movement the armed struggle against Fascism began not on June 18th 1940 but on July 17th 1936. It is a little known fact that over 60,000 Spanish exiles fought alongside the French Resistance, in addition to thousands of others who served in the regular forces of the Free French army. This article pays tribute to the forgotten heroes of the Spanish Resistance - in addition to the thousands who continued armed struggle against Franco in Spain - and explores the wider origins and development of the French Resistance (pictured above are members of the Maquis in La Tresorerie).

Defeat, Exile and Internment
Fascist victories in Spain led to several waves of refugees crossing the French border. By June 1938 some 40-45,000 refugees had crossed and an alarmed French government ordered the border to be closed. However, with the fall of Catalonia in January 1939 a human tide flowed northwards. Behind them came the retreating Republican Army covered by a rearguard composed of the 26th Division (Durruti Column) and elements of the Army of the Ebro. The right wing press in France went into near hysteria with banner headlines proclaiming, "Will the Army of Riot Reorganise Itself in France?" and "Close our Borders to the Armed Bands of the FAI (Iberian Anarchist Federation) and the POUM (a small socialist party which opposed the Stalinists)". However, with the town of Figueras about to fall to Franco, the French Left and humanitarian sensibilities prevailed and the border was opened to admit hundreds of thousands of civilians and combatants into France.

The population of the Pyrenees-Orientales Department more than doubled due to the influx of Spaniards. French troops in the area had already been reinforced and further reinforcements were brought in as the 26th Division reached the border. As one of its members, Antonio Herrero, recalled,". we were considered the most dangerous of the refugees". Sections of the French establishment clearly feared that the "Reds" and "Anarchists" would bring social revolution to France.

Whilst the refugees were now safe from Franco's army, they were by no means to be allowed their liberty. Instead they were confined in concentration camps on the beaches at Argeles-sur-mer, St.Cyprien and Barcares, penned in by stakes and barbed wire. French police hunted for those who escaped confinement. Inside the camps, shelter, supplies and medical care were virtually non-existent. Strict military discipline prevailed, with frequent roll calls, patrols and constant surveillance. Distribution of left wing papers was forbidden (but not right wing newspapers). Moreover, those identified as "criminals" or "radicals" were taken to separate prison camps, such as the fortress of Collioure and the camp at Le Vernet. Here, Communists and Anarchists were held as prisoners under a regime of hardlabour. Those who experienced these camps later recalled that, although they were not places of mass extermination, in many other respects they were every bit as bad as the German concentration camps.

The French government tried to encourage repatriation, both voluntarily and by threats. But by December 1939 there were still at least 250,000 Spaniards in the camps. Building work meant an improvement in conditions, though health, sanitation and food supplies were still dismal. The Spaniards organised themselves collectively as best they could through the main political groupings.

Blitzkrieg and Vichy France
With a general European war looming and recognising the vast pool of industrial and agricultural skills confined on the beaches, the Spanish exiles were given the option to leave the camps from April 1939. But this was on the condition that they either obtained an individual work contract with local farmers/ employers or enlisted in "workers companies" (labour battalions), the Foreign Legion or the regular French Army. Although the first option was the most desirable, around 15,000 joined the Foreign Legion, including elements of the 26th Division (Durruti Column) who were offered a choice between this and forced repatriation.

Thus many Spanish exiles found themselves at the sharp end of Hitler's Blitzkrieg in 1940. Over 6,000 died in battle before the Armistice and 14,000 were taken prisoner. Spaniards captured by the Nazis were not treated as prisoners of war but sent straight to concentration camps, primarily Mauthausen. Of 12,000 sent to that place of murder only 2,000 survived until liberation. Other Spaniards in the French army found themselves serving in Norway, as part of the expeditionary force to Narvik and Trondheim. They distinguished themselves by their bravery, but at a heavy price. Of 1,200 only 300 survived.

Following the German military triumph in Paris, 14th June 1940, the country was split into occupied and unoccupied zones. The latter, comprising central and southern France and the Mediterranean coast, was governed directly by the Vichy Government of Marshal Petain. At first many French people saw Petain as a national saviour, rescuing the country from the humiliation of total defeat. But the Vichy regime not only pursued a policy of co-existence and collaboration with the Nazis but had many of the trappings of a Fascist state itself. Petain's so-called "National Revolution" operated under the slogan "Work, Family, Fatherland" and pursued nationalist and authoritarian policies.

In August 1940 all trade union organisations were dissolved in favour of the "organic" corporate structures of employers and employees favoured by Fascism. The model for these policies could be easily seen in Italy, Spain (cordial relations with Franco were quickly established) and Portugal and, as in those countries, support for the National Revolution came mostly from the upper and middle class, from small industrialists and financiers, local business and landed property and from high status professions. Such supporters were quickly installed at every level of the administration. Peasant and family life was idealised, as was the Catholic Church as a model of moral life, communal values and obedience. Youth camps and Corps were set up. And, of course, lists were drawn up of Communists, Socialists etc. - some for immediate arrest, others to be arrested at the first sign of any threat to public order.

The Vichy regime was to actively collaborate in choosing hostages and recruiting labour for the Germans, arresting resisters and deporting Jews. The SS and Gestapo swiftly made contacts with French anti-Semites and Fascists, gathering information on Jews and the Left. No single Fascist style party ever emerged, partly because Hitler didn't want any basis for a resurgent French nationalism. But members of the P.P.F. Fascist party went to fight (and die) on the Russian front, and were also used internally as paramilitary units against the Resistance.

But the most important formation was to be the Milice - formed in January 1943 (from the veterans association Legion des Anciens Combattants) by Joseph Darnard, Vichy minister in charge of all internal forces of law and order. The Milice, a paramilitary vanguard of the "National Revolution", became a 150,000 strong force, acting as an auxiliary to the SS and Gestapo and characterised by Vichy-style Fascism. By 1944 they were the only French force the Germans could rely on. Most surviving Miliciens were summarily executed by the Resistance just before or just after liberation. They deserved it.

Many French people awoke only slowly to the real nature and ideology of the Nazi occupation and its Vichy sidekicks. Apart from a demonstration in Paris, 11th November 1940, and an impressive Communist led miners strike in the North East in May 1941, there was very little public confrontation with the Germans in the first 2 years after defeat.

De Gaulle's famous radio broadcast was to be only one of several starting points of resistance. In fact, until 1942 de Gaulle was by no means a major player. Although Churchill backed him, the Americans seemed more interested in winning over French Vichy commanders in Algeria. De Gaulle was not even informed of Allied plans for Operation Torch, the landing in Algeria. He had to shift some in order to consolidate his position. To do this he sought increasing links with the internal Resistance during 1942 and had to recognise both the diversity and independence of resistance groups and the importance of the Communists as established facts.

The French Communist Party had been stunned by the non-aggression pact between Hitler and Stalin in August 1939, and was then declared illegal under the Vichy regime. This meant that organisationally they played little role in the first stirrings of the Resistance, although individual grassroots militants were involved from the outset, as in the miners' strike. Only after the invasion of Russia was the CP able to regroup - but it quickly became a main player in terms of the politics, organisation and tactics of the Resistance.

In its first roots the Resistance grew from the bottom up. "Early resistance was almost entirely a matter of secret initiatives by individuals and small groups. ". The first act of resistance was often graffiti, for example that reversing the German declaration that 10 Frenchmen would be shot for every German assassinated ("One Frenchman Murdered - Ten Germans will Die!") or simply turning around or removing signposts to confuse the enemy. Equally important, once a group formed, was the production and circulation of clandestine pamphlets and newspapers. This propaganda built up a solidarity of attitude uniting the individual acts of resistance.

These small groups of like minded individuals gradually evolved into the wider movements of sabotage and armed struggle and the more diffuse networks which ran escape routes and gathered intelligence on German dispositions. In the North they suffered severe repression from the Gestapo, but in the South the movements took on a more expansive character. This was partly due to geographical factors and partly due to the zone not being under direct German control prior to November 1942. However, there was one other vital factor - the Spanish.

The Vichy regime wanted to make use of the vast amount of Spanish labour available in the South, so they established the Travailleurs Etrangers(T.E.) - basically forced labour corps of between 2-5,000 men. By the end of 1940 over 220,000 Spaniards were engaged in forced labour for French and German enterprises in France. But for the Vichy authorities the revolutionary working class history of the Spaniards posed a problem - the labour corps would provide a natural organisational focus for those intent on rebuilding their movement. And they were right - for the political organisations of the Spanish exiles were soon consolidating their position within the T.E., despite attempts by the Vichy police to identify and weed out Communists, Anarchists and "anti-nationals".

The presence of this vast body of exiles, many of them hardened anti-Fascist fighters, cannot be underestimated. "Resistance was the natural state of the Spanish exiles in France. For them the French dilemma over loyalty to Petain was non-existent. ". They were continuing a war that had begun behind the barricades in Barcelona, had already fought German and Italian troops in their own country, and were now about to do the same in France. As much, if not more so, than British agents of the Special Operations Executive it was the Spaniards who instructed their French comrades in armed struggle.

As Serge Ravanel of the French Resistance in the Toulouse area acknowledged: "During the War of Spain our comrades had acquired the knowledge that we did not possess they knew how to make bombs they knew how to set ambushes they had a profound knowledge of the technique of guerrilla war". In addition to this expertise it was said of the Spaniards that their bravery was unequalled in combat and that there was no question of treason or desertion.

Within the Travailleurs Etrangers low level sabotage, the universal symbol of working class defiance, rapidly became the norm. In one incident 50 French mechanics suspected to be engaged in monkey wrenching were replaced by Spaniards. The level of inexplicable vehicle failure increased as the Spanish pleaded ignorance of the rudiments of motor mechanics. Such incidents as this were part of a wider and growing movement of sabotage, a movement that rapidly progressed to dynamiting of industrial installations and railways grenade attacks on German military parades, canteens and barracks, not to mention individual assassinations.

In a typical progression, Spanish anarchists in the Massif Central organised resistance in the T.E. corps working on a huge dam (Barage de l'Aigle). From sabotaging roads and tunnels the group eventually grew into an armed resistance battalion 150-200 strong, named after the dam.

By 1942 the Resistance was firmly established, as any final illusions about the Nazis disappeared - with the SS increasingly in control in Paris decrees demanding workers for German factories the beginning of the deportation of Jews to the death camps and, in November, German military occupation of the Vichy zone. These events strengthened the motivation to resist and ensured a mood of protest and revolt among the French working class as a whole.

By the end of the year the independent and local Resistance movements had begun to co-ordinate more closely. Previously the only movement covering both zones was the Communist led Front National established in May 1941. Its armed wing was the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans Francais. Other groups combined to form Mouvements Unis de Las Resistance (MUR), whose armed wing was the Armee Secrete. The MUR recognised de Gaulle as leader but the Communists retained their independence. Both groups formed part of the Comite National de la Resistance (CNR).

It was through the CNR and MUR that de Gaulle was able to cement his position inside France. Arms supplies from London and Algiers went to groups which recognised his leadership and accepted a degree of tactical control from the British SOE. The guerrillas of the FTPF were left to arm themselves with weapons captured from the Germans or by intercepting Allied supply drops intended for the Armee Secrete. Alongside political differences, there was a difference over tactics. The Armee Secrete argued that the Resistance should hold itself in readiness to support an Allied landing. The FTPF argued for an immediate campaign of harassment, sabotage and ambush of German troops. They also wanted to assassinate individual German officers, a tactic de Gaulle rejected.

The Spaniards, primarily active in the South and South-East, organised themselves, although some individuals fought in French units. Spanish formations were recognised as an independent but integral part of the French Resistance within the CNR The main grouping was the Communist led Union Nacional Espanola (UNE) formed in November 1942. In 1944 its name changed to Agrupacion Guerrillera Espanola. A second organisation, the Alianza Democratica Espanola, rejecting Communist control, was formed by the Anarchists (CNT/FAI) Socialists (UGT/PSOE) Left and Independent republicans and Basque and Catalan nationalists.

The Maquis
The critical moment of expansion for the Resistance came in 1943 with an influx of new recruits fleeing forced labour. In June 1942 a decree had been issued requiring French workers for German factories. This was extended in February 1943 with the setting up of the Service du Travail Obligatoire (STO) to meet the ever increasing numbers demanded by the German labour ministry. The STO was resisted by individual evasion, strikes and even angry crowds freeing arrested workers from the French police. It also proved the vital ingredient in the formation of armed groups in the countryside, the Maquis.

Between April and December 1943, 150,000 workers were on the run from the STO, and by June 1944 this had swelled to more than 300,000. The Resistance movement encouraged non compliance and supplied shelter, supplies and arms to the evaders who took to the hills and countryside. The Maquis were supported by the rural population - alienated by constant requisitions of produce and the imposition of the STO on agricultural labourers. This swelling of guerrilla strength in the countryside throughout 1943 inaugurated a new and more ferocious phase of armed struggle, which in the conflict between the Milice and the Maquis increasingly took the form of a civil war.

Whilst the long term plan was to prepare a national insurrection in support of the expected Allied landings, there was disagreement over the best tactics to employ in the meantime. Some favoured massing in large formations, in effect local insurrections. Others argued for small mobile units of 20-30 men as the only viable tactic. The latter was undoubtedly the right policy. On three occasions when the Resistance in the South did mass for conventional warfare, on the Plateau of Glieres at Vercors and at Mont Mouchet they were both heavily outnumbered and outgunned by the Germans. Spaniards participated in these actions, but had warned against them - knowing full well from the war against Franco that lightly armed troops could not engage in conventional warfare without armour, artillery and air support.

Despite these setbacks resistance in the 18 months before D-Day inflicted massive damage on infrastructure and tied down German troops across France. The Resistance could far more easily neutralise railways, industrial sites and power stations than Allied air power, and their intelligence networks, at first lightly regarded by the British, were of decisive importance. Between June 1943 and May 1944 nearly 2,000 locomotives were destroyed. In October 1943 alone, over 3,000 attacks were recorded on the railways, 427 resulting in heavy damage, with 132 trains derailed. In the South West such sabotage was so effective that by June 6th 1944 it took 3 days to travel from Paris to Toulouse!

Whilst the guerrillas were less numerous in the North, between April and September 1943 some 500 resistance efforts were recorded, 278 against railways and other infrastructure, killing 950 Germans and injuring 1,890.In Normandy and Brittany, Spaniards blew up electrical transformers, a railway station and switching yard and part of an airfield. Spanish resistance fighters in Paris assassinated General von Schaumberg, commandant of Greater Paris and General von Ritter who was responsible for the recruitment of forced labour.

The effectiveness of the guerrilla campaign was to lead Eisenhower to comment that the Resistance effort around D-Day was worth a full 15 regular army divisions. Likewise Maquis support of the northern drive of the American 7th army was estimated as worth 4 or 5 divisions of regular troops. It should also be remembered that Allied troops never entered the South of the country. The whole area west of the Rhone and South of the Loire rivers was liberated by the national insurrection of the Maquis, as also was Brittany, save for the Atlantic ports with their strong German garrisons.

In the Department of L'Ariege the 14th Spanish Corps of Guerrillas (reformed April 1942) played a key role in evicting the Germans. Between June 6th and August 1944 they attacked German convoys and liberated several villages before taking Foix, the Nazi HQ in the area. A strong German column attempted a counter attack but were caught in an ambush. Despite their logistical superiority they were pinned down by machine gun fire and 1,200 surrendered. A key role was played by a solitary machine gunner who held his post raking the Germans with bullets. One resistance fighter recollects this man, "firing like a crazy one", and adds, as if by way of explanation, ". but he was a Spaniard, a guerrillero". Allied observers of the engagement commented that the Spaniards were "uniquely perfect guerrillas".

Other examples of the Spanish contribution include the Anarchist Llibertad battalion which liberated Cahors and other towns and the participation of 6,000 Spanish guerrillas in the liberation of Toulouse. One notable encounter occurred as the Germans attempted to withdraw through the Gardarea, following the fall of Marseilles. A group of 32 Spaniards and 4 Frenchmen tackled a German column (consisting of 1,300 men in 60 lorries, with 6 tanks and 2 self propelled guns), at La Madeiline, on August 22, 1944. The Maquis blew up the road and rail bridges and positioned themselves on surrounding hills with machine guns. The battle raged from 3pm till noon the next day. Three Maquis were wounded, 110 Germans killed, 200 wounded and the rest surrendered. The German commander committed suicide!

Over 4,000 Spaniards took part in the Maquis uprising in Paris that began on August 21st 1944. Photographs show them armed and crouched behind barricades in scenes one could easily mistake for the street fighting in Barcelona in July 1936. Before long they were supported by regular troops from the Normandy beach-heads. The first units to enter Paris and reach the Hotel de Ville were from the 9th Tank Company of the French 2nd Armoured Division. But the lead half tracks bore the names of Spanish battlefields -"Guadalajara" "Teruel" "Madrid" and "Ebro". They were manned by Spaniards, of whom there were 3,200 serving in the 2nd Armoured. Many of these were veterans of the 26th Division (Durruti Column) who had entered the French army from the prison camps in 1939 and gone on to fight in North Africa.

Captain Raymond Dronne, commander of the 9th Company, remembers that the Spanish anarchists were "both difficult and easy to command". In accordance with their libertarian principles ". it was necessary that they accept for themselves the authority of their officers . They wished to understand the reason for that which was asked of them". However, ". when they granted their confidence it was total and complete". "They were almost all anti-militarists, but they were magnificent soldiers, valiant and experienced. If they had embraced our cause spontaneously and voluntarily it was [because] it was the cause of liberty. Truly they were fighters for liberty".

The 9th Company featured prominently in the victory parade through Paris with its tanks drawn up at the Arc de Triomphe. They went on to see action on the Moselle and were the first to enter Strasbourg, supported by American infantry. Their campaign ended in Germany at Berchtesgaden, Hitler's "Eagles Nest". Having fought from the streets of Barcelona, across the battlefields of Spain, North Africa and France they stood as victors in the final bolt hole of the Nazi scum.

Liberation saw a brief period of euphoria, with the Resistance bridging the vacuum of power in the South - dealing with collaborators and remnants of the Milice setting up local committees to administer supplies and re-establishing communities on a more equal footing. Ordinary men and women were momentarily in charge of their own history. But this was not to last. De Gaulle and his allies had no desire to see Southern France controlled by revolutionary elements. The Maquisards represented a threat because "an army of guerrillas is always a revolutionary army." De Gaulle feared for revolution in Toulouse where 6,000 Spanish guerrillas were ". still imbued with the revolutionary spirit they had brought from beyond the Pyrenees" .To deal with this explosive situation the Maquis were offered the choice of disarming or joining the regular French forces for the attack on German garrisons in the Atlantic ports. This would show America that there was a regular national army and no need for Allied occupation, and it would also remove the armed bands whilst a smooth transference to Gaullist power took place. This was easily achieved because de Gaulle had cemented his position in key sections of the Resistance by control of the arms supply.

In all 25,000 Spaniards had died in the camps or fighting in armed units. With the German surrender in 1945 the Spaniards believed, understandably, that the Allies would turn their attention to Franco and that, without German and Italian support, he would be swiftly crushed. In fact many had been fighting all along in anticipation of returning to Spain for some unfinished business. Anti-fascist guerrilla activity had continued in Spain throughout the war. Meanwhile, exiles in Algeria and France had been preparing for a return - stockpiling arms "borrowed" from American depots. Likewise, as the French 2nd Armoured Division advanced north from Paris, its 9th Company was secretly joined by six members of the Durruti Column who had been with the Resistance in Paris. Whilst fighting alongside their old comrades in the 9th Company they hid arms and ammunition from the battlefields in secret caches. These were later collected and taken to Spain.

1945 saw Franco very much alone, condemned by Britain, Russia and the USA and excluded from the United Nations. The British Labour government, prior to their election in 1945, had promised a quick resolution to the Spanish question. But sadly history proved that the British were not to be trusted. The Labour government, despite its promises, used delaying tactics in the United Nations to stop effective action, arguing that it was purely an internal matter of the Spanish people and that they had no wish to "permit or encourage civil war in that country". Economic blockade and international isolation would have finished Franco off within months - but Britain and US would not support this despite protestations from other countries who favoured, if necessary, armed intervention. For the British and Americans, as in 1936-1939, the real problem was not Franco but the possibility of a "Red" revolution of the Spanish working class. This attitude solidified as the Cold War developed. A gradual rehabilitation of Franco took place, ending in full recognition and incorporation into the United Nations in 1955. Fascist Spain took its place at the table of the not so new world order.

Even in 1945, whilst some continued to believe that diplomacy would restore the Republican government, many militants opted to renew the armed struggle. Between 1944 and 1950 approximately 15,000 guerrillas fought in Spain, bringing half the country into a state of war. But, despite strikes in Barcelona and the Basque areas, involving over 250,000 people, the population as a whole, wearied by war and repression, were not prepared to rise, or had placed their faith in the diplomacy of Western "democracies". The guerrillas were left to fight alone and inadequately armed against Franco's impressive police and military apparatus, which was always well supplied with intelligence on guerrilla movements from the other side of the French border. It was an unequal struggle. As Juan Molina lamented: "The prisons consumed a generation of fighters, defeated this time irremediably . All strength in life has its limits and this limit was amply exceeded by the Resistance, in almost inhuman endurance. But it had to succumb".

These working class militants, who bore arms for ten or even twenty years against fascism and capitalism, deserve far more than just remembrance, though even that has been denied them. The struggle for which they gave their lives has not ended - it falls to us to continue that struggle and keep alight the flame of their resistance.

Missak Manouchian (1906-1944) survived one genocide and then gave his life fighting to stop another.

He was born in Adiyaman, in Ottoman-ruled Armenia, on 1st September 1906.

The son of Armenian peasants, Manouchian’s parents were both murdered in the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

Missak Manouchian in 1940 (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

Missak and his brother managed to escape, ending up in an orphanage in French-ruled Lebanon.

He moved to France in 1925, where he found work at a Citroën factory in Paris.

Missak was an intellectual and a radical. He read his way through the libraries of the Latin Quarter, and developed a real talent for poetry, as well as translating Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Rimbaud into Armenian, all while working to survive and organising for revolution!

He was a trade unionist in the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), and in 1934 he joined the French Communist Party (CPF) – a popular home for interwar radicals, from Sartre to Camus.

Missak joined the joined the French Communist Party (CPF), like other interwar radicals including Albert Camus.
Click to view our Albert Camus tea towel

Nazi Germany invaded Poland on Missak’s 33rd birthday, and, as a foreigner, he was swiftly evacuated from Paris by the French authorities.

While the war went on in the east, Missak was working in a factory in Rouen. But then the Nazis turned west in 1940, conquering Paris in a matter of weeks.

Briefly imprisoned as a Communist in 1941, Missak was broken out by his wife, Mélinée Assadourian.

Soon after, he emerged as a leading figure in the FTP-MOI, a remarkable unit of the French Resistance.

Attached to the Communist Party, these partisans were all immigrants to France, many of them also Jewish, drawn from the Main-d'oeuvre immigrée (MOI).

Formed during the interwar years, the MOI was a Communist trade union organisation of foreign labourers working in France. Under the Nazi occupation, it formed a special unit of the Francs-tireur et partisans (FTP) – the main Communist force in the Resistance.

In June 1943, Manouchian emerged as the leader of the FTP-MOI in the Paris region, commanding about 50 fighters.

Under constant threat of arrest, torture, and execution, these anti-fascist heroes were the cutting edge of the Resistance to Nazism and its French collaborators.

Author Victor Hugo may have lived a century before Missak but he too used his position to fight for radical social change in France.
Click to view our Victor Hugo tea towel

Between August and November of 1943, the Manouchian group conducted almost thirty attacks on the occupiers, including the assassination of Julius Ritter, an SS colonel managing the Nazi forced labour system in France.

But on 16th November 1943, the collaborationist police ambushed and arrested Manouchian and most of his FTP-MOI comrades.

These brave men and women were tortured before being given a show trial which sentenced them to death.

So, 77 years ago today, Missak Manouchian and twenty-one comrades were shot at Fort Mont-Valérien, on the outskirts of Paris.

A last member of the Manouchian group, Olga Bancic, was executed three months later in Stuttgart. She was a Jewish Romanian, a mother and a Communist, and a veteran of almost 100 sabotage actions against the Nazis in France.

After the executions, the Nazis circulated a propaganda poster in France denouncing the Manouchian fighters as an “army of crime” and emphasising their foreignness and Jewishness. It was a desperate attempt to turn the French people against their own liberating forces.

As a measure of its ineffectiveness, many of these posters – which showed photos of all the executed Manouchian group members – were graffitied with “MORTS POUR LA FRANCE”.

Maine Memory Network

Actors in Les Défenseurs production of Les Francs-Tireurs de Strasbourg in Lewiston in 1920 are, from left, C. LaPierre, E. Desjardins, S. Champagne, J.C. Boucher, P. Perrier, (kneeling) A. Deslauriers, J. Fourrier, H. Pelletier, R. Cailler, D. Proulx, O. Janelle and A. Levesque.

About This Item

  • Title: Les Francs-Tireurs de Strasbourg, Lewiston, 1920
  • Creation Date: 1920
  • Subject Date: 1920
  • Town: Auburn, Lewiston
  • County: Androscoggin
  • State: ME
  • Media: Photographic print
  • Dimensions: 17.1 cm x 25.3 cm
  • Object Type: Image

Cross Reference Searches

Standardized Subject Headings


Other Keywords

For more information about this item, contact:

The copyright and related rights status of this item have not been evaluated. Please contact the contributing repository for more information.

Please post your comment below to share with others. If you'd like to privately share a comment or correction with MMN staff, please use this form.

Copyright ©2000-2021 Maine Historical Society, All Rights Reserved.

Many images on this website are for sale on

Maine Memory Network is a project of the Maine Historical Society. Except for classroom educational use, images and content may not be reproduced without permission. See Terms of Use.

Contemporary European Archivist

Боец французского Сопротивления. С февраля 1944 г. отряды Сопротивления были формально объединены в организацию под названием “Французские внутренние силы (“Forces Francaises de L`interieur” или FFI). Отряды FFI сыграли большую роль в освобождении Франции в 1944 г.

Немецкий бронепоезд под обстрелом французских партизан. Трофейный легкий танк Renault R35 сползает с бронепоезда, чтоб, помочь немецким солдатам в боевых действий против партизан “Forces Francaises de L`interieur (FFI)”.

Партизанская группа ведет огонь по противнику

Французский партизанский подрывник подготавливает взрывпакет.

Взорваный французскими партизанами немецкий ешелон

Взорваный французскими партизанами немецкий ешелон

Герой французского сопротивительного движения Жан Мулин (Jean Moulin)

Париж, август 1944 г. Пулеметчик из французского Сопротивления ведет огонь по немецкому снайперисту

Группа бойцов французского Сопротивления

USAAF B-17 Flying Fortresses drop supplies to the Maquis in the Vercors.

Date 1944(1944)
Source IWM database, photo no. EA 34185
Author USSTAF photographer

Париж, август 1944 г. Бойцы французского Сопротивления ведут французскую коллаборационистку.

Так выглядят документы участника во французском Сопротивлении.

Американский офицер и французский партизан. Париж, август 1944 г.

Член французского сопротивления, Montdidier, 1944.

Французский партизан разговаривает с американским парашютистом. 1944 г.

В французское сопротивительное движение вступили новые добровольцы.

Memorial to the FTP-MOI in the Père-Lachaise cemetery

Gisant du mémorial du Maquis Ventoux à Sault (Vaucluse, France)


Patriotes from the Belgian Resistance.

In the forest refuge. Belgium, 1943.

The first detachment from the belgian guerrilla brigade “Za Rodinu”. Belgium, 1945.

Belgian civilians survey a German train derailed by Belgian resistance fighters. Photo courtesy of the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation Photo Archives

One of the V.F.Kucherenko`s belgian passports.

Belgian guerrilla`s serificate from the Belgian guerrilla`s Army. Belgium, 1945.

Командир бельгийской сопротивительной подвижной группы “Ла Скарлет” (Cdt. de Bie Jean, Leader of the Mobile Group “La Sarcelle”)

Mobile Group “La Sarcelle” carried out operations together with the Polish, English and Canadian forces between 5 Sept 1944 and 25 Oct 1944 in the Area of Ghent and the Leopold-Canal

Фотография командира бельгийского Сопротивления из организации “Тайная Армия” (Organization “Secret Army”) (10.12.1944)

Фотография участников бельгийской сопротивительной группы “Escadron Brumagne” около Wilmarsdonk во время освобождения Антверпенского порта (Port of Antwerp) ( 20.09.1944)

Участники в бельгийском “Escadron Brumagne” со знаком “Resistance badge” на своих униформах


Член голландского сопротивительного движения подготавливает фальшивые документы

Голландская сопротивительная группа с их тайным радиопередатчиком (неизвестно еще это не является ли фотография арестованных немцами голландских антифашистов)

Участница в голландском Сопротивлении делает фотографию немецких объектов

Двое членов голландского Сопротивления показывают как делают фотографию немецких объектов

Подготовка издания нелегальной газеты голландским Сопротивления

Член голландского сопротивления наклеивает публично на фонарь, подпольную газету голландского Сопротивления

Член голландского сопротивления наклеивает публично подпольную газету голландского Сопротивления

Небольшие самолеты типа “Лисандр” использовались для десантирования агентов и возвращения их с территории противника.

Некоторые из тысяч “липовых” бланков и печатей, сфабрикованных отделом SOE по изготовлению поддельных документов. На иллюстрации приведены, в частности, печати французских и голландских муниципалитетов, отделов регистрации новорожденных, бюро принудительных работ, полицейских управлений, высшего командования вермахта, гестапо, СД.

Профессор Жорж Луи Жамброс, ответственный за план “Голландия”. Попав в плен, выдывал себя за агента гестапо. Казнен в концлагере Маутхаузен.

Голландские партизаны прячут в пивных бочках оружие, сброшенное на парашютах английским SOE

Het smokkelen van wapens, verborgen onder een laag hooi, uitgevoerd door Jan Kruis en Anne Wind op 13 april 1945.

Date 13 April 1945(1945-04-13)
Source Origineel in bezit van erfgenamen Diedrich Jansen. Kopie aanwezig bij het NIOD te Amsterdam.
Author Diedrich Jansen

Members of the Eindhoven Resistance with troops of the 101st Airborne in front of the Eindhoven cathedral during Operation Market Garden in September 1944

Date September 1944(1944-09)
Source CIA[1]
Author User:W.wolny

Netherlands. [Injured persons on a city street.] German military started shooting into crowds on Dam Square more than twenty people were killed.
Nederlands: Op 7 mei 1945, dus al na de overgave door de Duitsers, schoten Duitsers in de volksmassa op de Dam, waarbij meer dan 20 doden vielen.

Date 7 May 1945
NARA, Local Identifier 286-ME-8(2)
Author Krijn Taconis (1918-1979)

Jacobus Beekman, Member of the Dutch resistance
Nederlands: Jacobus Beekman, Nederlands verzet

Date April 1945(1945-04)
Source Own work
Author Vewbeekman


Итальянские партизаны бригады “Фриулли”

Итальянские партизаны бригады “Фриулли”

Итальянские партизанки, участницы в боевых действиях на стороне союзников, в районе Кастеллучо. Италия, 1944 г.

Nevilio Casarosa – Italian partisan

Партизанский парад в городе Милано

Документы участника в италианском сопротивительном движении


Дуус Хансен, создатель первой радиосети в Дании и организатор сбора разведданных о ракетах “Фау”.

Майор Флемминг B. Муус (Major Flemming B. Muus “Jam” 21.11.1910 – 23.09.1982), главный организатор сети SOE в Дании.

Фальшивые документы Флемминга В. Мууса

Нелегальный радиопередатчик Датского Сопротивления

Участник Датского движения Сопротивления Bent Faurschou-Hviid (“The Torch”), 07.01.1921 – 18.10.1944

Участник Датского движения Сопротивления Jens Lillelund (“Finn”), 22.10.1904 – 10.07.1981

Участник Датского движения Сопротивления Svend Otto Nielsen (“John”), 29.08.1908 – 27.04.1944

Участник Датского движения Сопротивления капитан Ole Geisler (“Aksel”/”Leek”), 29.03.1913 – 04.10.1948

Участник Датского движения Сопротивления Jørgen Haagen Schmith (“The Lemon”),18.12.1910 – 15.10.1944


Норвежская нелегальная радиостанция “Ольга”

Норвежский нелегальный радиопередатчик “Ольга”

Нелегальная транспортировка радиопередатчика “Ольга”

Фальшивые документы (идкорт”) прошедшего в Великобритании радиста норвежского радиопередатчика “Ольга”

The surrender of Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway. The German garnison’s commander Major Josef Nichterlein and his aide Captain Hamel handing the fortress over to the Norwegian resistance movement’s Terje Rollem in May 1945.

Watch the video: Film annonce le Franc-Tireur, Ciné Sorbonne