The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

In an unprecedented tribute in Paris, France remembers the "stateless" heroes of the French resistance shot by Nazism


Highlights: In an unprecedented tribute in Paris, France remembers the "stateless" heroes of the French resistance shot by Nazism. President Emmanuel Macron presided over the great and late ceremony this Wednesday. The last letter written by Manouchian to his wife, a few hours before his death, was read to those present. The song "L'Affiche Rouge d'Aragon", performed by Léo Ferré, was also performed in tribute to the resistance fighters. Even Marine Le Pen went to the ceremony, in a strong controversy with Macron.

The Armenian communist Missak Manouchian, executed by Hitler's men, was buried in the Pantheon of Heroes. President Emmanuel Macron led the ceremony.

Until now the French government was reluctant to honor them.

Missak Manoukian, this stateless Armenian, communist, internationalist, poet and member of the French Resistance, was buried in the Pantheon of French Heroes this Wednesday,

80 years after he was executed by the Nazis


Next to him was Melinée, his great love.

Also in this war of memory were the 22 who were shot alongside him on Mount Valerien.

In the end, the stateless people, who defended France, arrived at the monument of French heroes.

He never could be.

Missak and his wife Melinée will be laid to rest alongside Josephine Baker and Maurice Genevoix.

President Emmanuel Macron presided over the great and late ceremony

this Wednesday.

A great ceremony for those who lived and died “for the values ​​of France.”

But it is

the first recognition

of the internationalist brigade members, who defended France from Nazism and were never accepted, not even by the communists themselves.

Manoukian applied for citizenship twice and was rejected.

Now they are called “French people preferably, killed in the name of the values ​​of France.”

But with them we honor the Poles, Spanish, and British who fought for France and were never recognized.

Even Marine Le Pen went to the ceremony, in a strong controversy with Macron.

French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte, former President François Hollande, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, among other officials, at the tribute to Manouchian, in Paris.

Photo: EFE

solemn tribute

This Wednesday, February 21, Missak Manouchian and her partner Mélinée enter the Pantheon.

Eighty years after the execution of the resistance fighter of the Nazi occupation, France pays him a national tribute.

This political and national ceremony technically began on Tuesday night.

His remains were exhumed in Mont-Valérien, in Hauts-de-Seine, the place where the Nazis killed him in 1944, along with 22 fellow resistance members.

The children of those executed Resisters paid tribute to him.

This Wednesday, at the end of the day, the remains of Missak Manouchian, covered with a tricolor flag, were transported along Soufflot Street, to a part open to the public.

According to the Elysée, this sequence revolves around three artistic periods in the life of the deceased: the Armenian genocide, his discovery of France and his entry into the resistance.

The last letter written by Manouchian to his wife, a few hours before his death, was read to those present.

There he forgives all those who betrayed him, especially the Stalinist communists.

The song "L'Affiche Rouge d'Aragon", performed by Léo Ferré, was also performed in tribute to the resistance fighters.

During the Nazi "trial" of the Armenian, Nazi propaganda placed a poster in the capital with photographs of ten members of the Manouchian group, on a red background, denouncing "the army of the crime against France."

All of them will go down in legend under the name "L'Affiche rouge", which inspired a poem in Aragon, set to music by Léo Ferré, and several films.

Finally, at dusk, around 6:30 p.m., Missak Manouchian's coffin entered the Pantheon temple.

It was worn by soldiers of the Foreign Legion, who have chosen to enlist in France.

Foreign Legion soldiers carry Missak Manouchian's coffin during the ceremony this Wednesday in Paris.

Photo: AP

At the time, Macron paid tribute to him in a speech.

A highly symbolic moment

for the memory of a man who died stateless.

In an interview with the communist newspaper


, the president said he wanted to praise the memory of a "preferably Frenchman," a man whose "struggles are in line with republican ideals."

At the end of this national tribute, as an extension of the ceremony, the Pantheon will be open to the public free of charge from February 23 to 25 inclusive.

The story of a stateless poet

Missak Manouchian, director of the FTP-MOI (Francs-tireurs partisans-immigrant labor) of Paris, shot by the Germans in Mont-Valérien with 22 of his comrades, on February 21, 1944, for their armed struggle against the occupier , entered the Pantheon.

Macron's decision came after petitions and forums in favor of the “pantheonization” of the Armenian resistance.

For many of the signatories,

it is about repairing an injustice in collective memory

and saluting the role of foreigners in the “army of shadows.”

The tragic fate of Manouchian and his comrades gave rise, in 1984-1985, to an extremely violent controversy.

In a documentary by Mosco director Levi Boucault, ironically titled "Retired 'terrorists'", an interviewed journalist accused the clandestine leadership of the FTP (the communists) of having sacrificed or even “handed over” the “Manouchian group” to the Germans, because These resistance fighters were foreigners and, for the most part, Jews.

In France, in the 1980s, there was talk of the “Manouchian affair”, which made the front page of the press.

The Armenian leader of the French Resistance to Nazism was honored this Wednesday at the Pantheon of French Heroes in Paris.

Photo: AP

But other petitioners do not hesitate to involve the Armenian resistance in the current political disputes.

And, crude and inappropriate as this sophistry may be, they seek to draw arguments from Manouchian heroism 80 years ago to punish the desire to control current immigration, more or less assimilating it to an avatar of Vichy.

Who was Missak Manouchian?

He was born in 1906, into a peasant family, Armenian and Christian in the Ottoman Empire, in Adıyaman, in southern Anatolia, about 100 kilometers from the border with present-day Syria.

A survivor of the Armenian genocide, he grew up in orphanages in Lebanon and then emigrated to France with his brother in 1925.

Manouchian became a carpenter and then moved to Paris and was hired as a turner in the Citroën factories.

Thanks to the remarkable primary and secondary education received in the orphanages of the Christian missions of Lebanon, he mastered French perfectly.

The young man had literary aspirations and wrote poems in his free time.

Aside from his manual work, in the early 1930s, he founded with Armenian friends two small magazines, dedicated to letters, Tchank (Effort) and then Machagouyt (Culture).

Aspiring to knowledge, the self-taught man registered as a free auditor at the Sorbonne and read in libraries.

Legally speaking,

Manouchian is stateless


However, she has the Nansen passport.

This identity document, which bears the name of the High Commissioner for Refugees of the League of Nations who had it adopted by the Norwegian Nansen (Nobel Peace Prize winner 1922).

It grants a legal identity to White Russians stripped of their nationality by Soviet Russia and to Armenian survivors of the genocide.

On the political level, like many of her French-resident and working compatriots (but naturally not all), Manouchian joined the PCF, probably in 1934.

A portrait of Missak Manouchian under his coffin, at the tribute ceremony this Wednesday in Paris.

Photo: EFE

At that time, this party, by order of Stalin, began a "patriotic" turn.

Favors union with the SFIO and the radicals.

And the PCF, which in principle addresses itself first and foremost to “the working class,” long poorly integrated into the nation, is also committed to winning over foreign workers to its cause.

For many of them, communist activism will be a factor of integration into French society.

Some also consider that their new homeland is the embodiment of the ideals of 1789. This is how Manouchian and his wife entered the military.

Manouchian also worked in the Armenian Aid Committee, an organization created in Yerevan, then the capital of one of the fifteen republics of the USSR.

As the war approached, in 1938-1939, he was secretary of the Armenian People's Union, the new name of the Armenian Relief Committee.

Like his wife Méllinée, Manouchian undertook

clandestine activism,

within a union and political framework.

The CGT, organized by “linguistic groups”, recruited people from different diasporas (Poles, Hungarians, Italians, Spanish, Armenians, etc.).

“The “linguistic group” is the structure that, in the eyes of immigrants from the communist movement, embodies and guarantees the national particularism that they do not want to renounce, even if they aspire to integrate into the French working class,” explain historians Stéphane Courtois. and Denis Peschanski, as well as their colleagues.

The armed struggle

It is within the MOI that Manouchian resumes his clandestine militant activity.

He appoints a political leader for each immigration.

And, for the Armenians, this mission is entrusted to Manouchian.

At that time, the clandestine leadership of the PCF, which had joined the Resistance after the invasion of the USSR, had ordered its executives to create armed groups.

In the spring of 1942, after a period of hesitation, the Party approved the attacks against the German soldiers, then very unpopular among the French population, due to the occupier's massive reprisals against the hostages.

In April 1942, several modest-sized structures were grouped into the FTP, open to non-communists to broaden its base, and which had an FTP-MOI branch, led by Boris Holban, a Jew born in Western Ukraine and raised in neighboring Romania.

Therefore, within the clandestine PCF, for partly practical reasons, linked to pre-war sociability networks, there are two different armed structures: one made up of French people and the other made up of foreign workers.

A very significant number of its first members fought, during the Spanish Civil War, in the ranks of the Popular Front.

Manouchian joined the Parisian FTP-MOI in February 1943, then the Special Brigade No. 2 (BS2) of the police headquarters, created in January 1942 to fight against resistance fighters, described as terrorists.

He concentrated his efforts against them.

At the beginning of 1943, the first detachment, reorganized, was composed mainly of Romanian Jews, reinforced by a group of Bulgarians and some Armenians, among them Manouchian.

It was then that Rol-Tanguy ordered the military chief of all FTP-MOI, Boris Holban, to intensify his actions, abandon specialized teams and hire more and more fighters.

For the Party leadership, it is about promoting the model of the people in arms and preparing the national insurrection to obtain a dominant position after liberation.

Manouchian replaces Holban, who rejects the strategy.

Under his authority, the task force carries out an action prepared by its predecessor:

attacking a German general


On September 28, 1943, the FTP-MOI special team killed General Ritter, a high-ranking Nazi, responsible for implementing the STO.

The Germans shoot 50 hostages


The execution

The French and foreign resistance fighters detained at the end of these surveillances are separated and are the subject of two separate trials.

At the end of the French trial, 29 condemned to death were shot in March-April 1944. But, before, some foreign resistance fighters (some had already been deported), those that Nazi propaganda called "the Manouchian group", were tried on February 15, 1944 before the court-martial of the German court to the commander of Greater Paris.

Manouchian and his 22 companions, sentenced to death, were shot in the clearing of Mont Valérien on February 21, 1944.

The only woman in the group, Olga Bancic, was sent to Germany and beheaded


French far-right leader Marine Le Pen defied requests to stay away from a national ceremony honoring a World War II resistance hero.

A spokesman for Le Pen called President Emmanuel Macron's suggestion that she should not attend Wednesday's event “scandalous.”

Last week, RN leaders accepted a request from the family of former minister and lawyer Robert Badinter not to attend his national funeral, honoring the man who abolished the death penalty in France.


Source: clarin

All news articles on 2024-02-21

You may like

Trends 24h


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.