The President of the Republic unveiled on February 21 during a ceremony at Mont Valérien, the names of the personalities who will soon join “Les Grands Hommes”, place du Panthéon. Resistance from the start, the personalities chosen by François Hollande are Jean Zay, Germain Tillion, Pierre Brossolette and Geneviève Antonioz De Gaulle.
Jean Zay (1904-1944) Having entered politics very early, Jean Zay became at the age of 32 a member of the Popular Front government as Minister of National Education and Fine Arts. As such, he supported the creation of the Musée de l'Homme and participated in its inauguration in the presence of President Lebrun on June 20, 1938. He died, assassinated by the militia in June 1944.
Germaine Tillion (1907-2008) is an ethnologist specializing in the Chaouïa people (Aurès, Algeria), a pupil of Marcel Mauss, she joined the resistance in 1940. After the arrest of the members of the Musée de l'Homme network, notably Boris Vildé and Anatole Lewitsky, she continues their activities. Herself arrested in 1942, she was finally deported to Ravensbrück. With her experience as an ethnologist, she sets out to describe the world of concentration camps. She also wrote during her detention the libretto for an operetta, "The Verfügbar in the Underworld" which describes the condition of the detainees.
Pierre Brossolette (1903-1944), journalist and politician, he joined the Musée de l'Homme Group presented to Jean Cassou by Agnès Humbert. He wrote the last number of the newspaper "Resistance" and narrowly escaped the dismantling of the network. Pierre Brossolette is also the mouthpiece in London for shadow fighters. In a speech to the BBC on September 22, 1942, he paid a vibrant tribute to "supporters of glory", an expression which would subsequently become common. He will speak 38 times at the microphone of the BBC in replacement of Maurice Schumann and will write articles, including one in La Marseillaise which will subsequently be considered by some as one of the founding texts of Gaullism of war. After having escaped arrests several times, Pierre Brossolette was finally arrested on denunciation. Tortured, he died on March 22, 1944.
Genevieve De Gaulle (1920-2002) Resistant from June 1940 in the Musée de l'Homme Group, Geneviève de Gaulle increased her intelligence and information actions, particularly within the Defense network of France. Arrested on July 20, 1943 and imprisoned in Fresnes, she was deported to the Ravensbrück camp on February 2, 1944 where she met and befriended four other resistance fighters: Jacqueline Péry d'Alincourt, Suzanne Hiltermann, Anise Postel-Vinay and Germaine Tillon. In October 1944, she was placed in isolation in the "bunker" of the camp. This decision, taken by Himmler, aims to keep her alive and use her as a bargaining chip. She testified in 1987 on Nazi barbarism during the Klaus Barbie trial. Appointed in 1988 to the Economic and Social Council, she fought for ten years for the adoption of an orientation law against extreme poverty.
Sources: Museum of Man