Henri Frenay

Henri Frenay


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Henry Frenay was born in Lyons, France in 1905. He studied at the Centre of Germanic Studies in Strasbourg before joining the French Army. He had reached the rank of captain in the Second World War and was captured at Vosges during the German's Western Offensive.

Frenay escaped from a prisoner of war camp in Alsace on 27th June, 1940. He made his way to Marseilles and was at first a supporter of Henri-Philippe Petain and the Vichy government. After becoming disillusioned with Petain and although he remained strongly anti-Communist, he joined the French Resistance in February 1941. This included publishing several underground newspapers, such as Les Petities Ailes and Vérités. Frenay was also instrumental in the formation of Combat in November, 1941.

In 1942 Frenay entered talks with Jean Moulin about the possibility of uniting all the resistance groups working in France. After much discussion Moulin persuaded the eight major resistance groups to form the Conseil National de la Resistance (CNR). This included Frenay's Combat as well as Jean-Pierre Lévy (Francs-Tireur), Liberation (Emmanuel d'Astier), Front National (Pierre Villon), Comité d'Action Socialiste (Pierre Brossolette) and Armée Secrete (Charles Delestraint).

When the Gestapo captured Jean Moulin and Charles Delestraint, Frenay escaped to Algiers. In November 1943, General Charles De Gaulle appointed Frenay as minister of prisoners, deportees and refugees.

In 1944 Frenay returned to France with De Gaulle and served in his first government after the liberation. His autobiography, The Night Will End: Memoirs of a Revolutionary (1976). Henry Frenay died in 1988.

General de Gaulle decided alone, without taking the advice of any of us, without listening to our observations or criticisms, to give a single man entire responsibility for liaison with the Resistance and in fact for its direction.

I have renounced all active political life. My experience taught me that the rules of the political game excluded any possibility of friendship between men. Rather than lose my friends, I prefer to abstain. For me, friendship is the essence of existence.


Henri Frenay

Henri Frenay Sandoval, dit Henri Frenay, est un résistant et homme politique français né le 19 novembre 1905 à Lyon et mort le 6 août 1988 à Porto-Vecchio en Corse-du-Sud. Avec Berty Albrecht, il fonde Combat, un mouvement de résistance regroupant apparemment toutes les tendances politiques [ 1 ] à l'exception des mouvances radicales et pro-communistes qu'il rendait responsables de la défaite de 1940 [ 2 ] . Il est fait Compagnon de la Libération en 1943. À la Libération, il est commissaire puis ministre des Prisonniers, des Déportés et des Réfugiés.


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6 of the wildest top secret spy missions of World War II

Posted On February 04, 2019 21:18:14

Spy novels are filled with over-the-top missions and unlikely operations, but some of the wildest spy stories are the real ones.

1. A Polish spy bluffs her way into a Gestapo prison while surrounded by her own wanted posters.

Photo: Wikipedia.com

Christine Granville was known for a bunch of exploits in World War II, but her ballsiest was a rescue mission. She walked into a Gestapo-controlled prison in France and secured the release of three other spies scheduled for execution. At the time, her face was on wanted posters spread across the country.

She convinced the guards that she was a British spy and the niece of a British general and that Allied Forces were bearing down on the city. She suggested that they should release the prisoners in return for future payment and clemency. The Germans bought it and she walked her colleagues out.

2. Operation Mincemeat fooled the Nazis with a corpse.

When the Allies needed to invade Sicily in 1943, they knew the Germans would be rapidly reinforcing it. So, they procured the body of a dead vagrant, dressed him up in a uniform, chained a briefcase of fake invasion plans for Greece to his wrist, and floated him on ocean currents to “neutral” Spain.

As the British expected, the documents were handed over to the Nazis and assumed to be genuine. The Germans prepared for an invasion in the wrong place, saving thousands of Allied lives during the invasion of Sicily.

READ MORE: This top-secret operation was the World War II version of ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’

3. A famed jazz singer smuggled information through sheet music and her underwear.

Photo: Wikipedia

Josephine Baker was a famous singer and dancer born in America. She became a French citizen in 1937 and, when France fell to the Germans, she convinced the Axis she was on their side. Baker spent the next few years spying for the Allies in high-culture parties with senior Axis leaders.

To smuggle intelligence out, she would plan performances in neutral countries and hand over her sheet music, covered in invisible ink, to Allied handlers. When she needed to smuggle out photos, she’d pin them to her underwear.

4. A Navy commando ran weapons, spies, and explosives through Greece and the Balkan Peninsula.

Lt. j.g. Jack Taylor — sometimes called America’s first SEAL because he was the first American commando to infiltrate by sea, air, and land in his career — served in the OSS in the Balkan Peninsula behind enemy lines from Sep. 1943 to March 1944.

During this time, he and his men reconnoitered enemy troop and supply positions, resupplied friendly forces, and conducted night time raids. They were nearly caught in three different incidents but escaped each time. The famed Maj. Gen. William “Wild Bill” Donovan recommended Taylor for a service cross for the mission.

5. Agent Fifi tested new British agents by being hot and charming.

“Agent Fifi” was Marie Chilver, an English-born woman who was raised throughout Europe. She was jailed in an internment camp in 1940 but escaped to England in 1941.

She tried to get sent back to France as a spy, but wasn’t allowed. Instead, she became the beautiful, seductive final exam for British spy trainees. British agents would be approached by Chilvers during their mission and she tried and get secrets out of them. Any who divulged information were dropped from the program.

6. Virginia Hall led a resistance group despite having only one foot.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Virginia Hall lost her foot prior to World War II, an injury that ended her hopes for a career in the foreign service. So, instead she became a spy.

Her largest contributions to the war probably came when she slipped into France via a British torpedo boat, trained three battalions of French resistance, and led sabotage and intelligence-gathering missions. Her team killed 150 Germans and captured 500 more. They also destroyed four bridges and multiple trains and rail lines.

NOW: The 4 female spies who shaped the American revolution

OR: The 6 most secret units in military history

Articles

Henri Frenay

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Henri Frenay Sandoval Ώ] (1905–1988) was a French military officer and French Resistance member.

He was born in Lyon, France, on 11 November 1905, into a Catholic family with a military tradition. He studied the Germanic languages at the University of Strasbourg. Afterwards, he became a soldier like his father and studied in Saint Cyr and the École Supérieure de Guerre and reached the rank of captain in 1934. At the outbreak of World War II, he rejoined the French army. German forces captured him in Vosges. He arrived in Marseille after escaping from a POW camp in Alsace on 27 June 1940. Ώ]

At first Frenay supported the Vichy Regime but was soon disillusioned by the Nazi tendency of the Pétain regime, and he subsequently formed the French Resistance group Mouvement de Libération Nationale in 1940. He became an editor of underground newspapers such as Vérités (Truths) and had a hand in the formation of the Combat group Ώ] ΐ] in November 1941. In 1943, his group participated in the forming of the Conseil National de la Résistance of Jean Moulin, but Frenay refused a seat since he disagreed over the admission of political parties to the Conseil.

When the Gestapo captured Moulin, Frenay fled to Algiers. In November 1943, he met Charles de Gaulle, who appointed him as a minister of prisoners, refugees and deportees.

After the war, Frenay served in de Gaulle's first provisional government. He retired from the political life and became a businessman. He published his autobiography, The Night Will End: Memoirs of a Revolutionary in 1976 and criticised Moulin and de Gaulle as reckless.


Índice

Henri Frenay pertenecía a una familia católica de militares de Lyon. Su familia siempre se mantuvo al margen de la política. Su padre murió durante la Primera Guerra Mundial, por lo que fue educado por su madre. Estudió en el Liceo Ampère de Lyon. hasta su encuentro con Berty Albrecht en 1934, se mantiene fuera de la política, aunque su tendencia era más bien nacionalista y conservadora.

En 1924, a los 19 años, se incorpora a la Escuela Especial Militar de Saint-Cyr de la que sale con el grado de subteniente dos años más tarde. Se le destina en primer lugar al Ejército del Rin, y luego a Siria en el 16º Regimiento de tiradores tunecinos y en el 8º Batallón asirio-caldeo de Kamechlie. En 1933, regresa a la metrópoli, ingresa en la Academia de oficiales y alcanza el grado de capitán.

Conoce a Berty Albrecht en 1934 a través de refugiados alemanes anti-nazis, lo que le hace ver los peligros del nazismo. En 1938, Henri Frenay se interesa por Alemania, y estudia el país.

En 1939, el capitán Henri Frenay es destinado al Estado mayor en la Línea Maginot. El 13 de junio de 1940, el 43º Cuerpo de ejército al que pertenece recibe orden de retirada y cuatro días después es hecho prisionero por la Wehrmacht. Consigue escapar junto al alférez Bourguet. El 15 de julio llegan a pie a la zona libre. Es enviado primero a Marsella, y luego al Estado Mayor en Vichy, en el que trabajará durante un tiempo. El 24 de enero de 1941, solicita la baja por Armisticio en una carta en la que declara haber perdido la confianza en el Alto Mando. El general Picquendar trata de disuadirlo, pero ante la firmeza de su decisión, el general Charles Huntziger acepta su renuncia. A pesar de todo, Henri Frenay conservará muchas relaciones con el Ejército.

Funda el movimiento Combat, que se convertirá en el movimiento de Resistencia más importante de Francia, llegando a aunar al 70% de las fuerzas. Trabajará sin problemas con el movimiento encabezado por Jean-Pierre Levy y con alguno más con el de Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie. Por razones políticas, Henri Frenay no se une inmediatamente a Charles de Gaulle. Su rechazo a la política del Régimen de Vichy data de la capitulación de 1940, cuando aún pertenecía al Ejército. Buscado por la Gestapo y por la policía francesa, pasa a la clandestinidady adopta diversos nombres como Henri Francen, Morin, Molin, Lefèvre o Charvet, nombre este último por el que le conocían los servicios de inteligencia británicos. Amplía la publicación del diario clandestino Las Alitas del Nord y del Pas-de-Calais a toda la zona ocupada, pasando a ser primero Las Alitas de Francia y luego Resistencia. En la zona libre, su periódico Verdades, tras la fusión con Libertad, se transforma en Combate (Combat), y su subcabecera reza "Órgano del movimiento de la Resistencia Francesa".

Junto a sus actividades en la Resistencia, se reúne en varias ocasiones con miembros del Régimen de Vichy (una vez se revoca su orden de detención) como el Ministro del Interior Pierre Pucheu o el comandante Rollin, de la Policía, en 1942, los cuales le proponen ingresar en los Servicios Secretos, a lo que se niega. Gracias a ellos, consigue la libertad de algunos miembros de Combat, detenidos por la policía. Estas reuniones le hacen ser minusvalorado durante algún tiempo por algunos otros miembros de la Resistencia como Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie y Jean Moulin que se preguntan a qué juega. La situación se aclara cuando desde Londres Henri Frenay elabora un informe en el que explica el objeto de esas reuniones, informe que se remite a los distintos jefes de la Resistencia.

El papel que desempeña Henri Frenay es el de unificador de la Resistencia, fusionando con la suya a otras varias redes y tratando de agrupar a los tres principales movimientos de la zona libre (Franc-Tireur, Libération, Combat), lo que desembocará más adelante en la creación de los Movimientos Unidos de la Resistencia o MUR (unification de los tres) del que será uno de los miembros del Comité dirigente. En octubre de 1941, se reúne con Jean Moulin, encargado de unificar la Resistencia Francesa y de ponerla al servicio de Charles de Gaulle. Se reunirán con frecuencia hasta 1943.

Henri Frenay, junto a Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie, se dirige el 17 de septiembre de 1942 a Londres, pasando por Gibraltar. Se reúne con el General De Gaulle, jefe de la Francia libre, y descubre que están de acuerdo en muchas de las funciones de la Resistencia. También contactará con los miembros del BCRA entre los que estaba el coronel Passy.

Henri Frenay tendrá luego importantes diferencias con Jean Moulin, encargado por el General De Gaulle para dirigir la Resistencia en Francia, ya que opinaba que éste trataba de menguar la eficacia del MUR de modo deliberado para favorecer a algunos grupos radicales pro-soviéticos.

Ministro de prisioneros, deportados y refugiados Editar

Ya en noviembre de 1943 es nombrado Ministro de prisioneros, deportados y refugiados por el Comité Francés de la Liberación Nacional en Argel, y luego por el Gobierno Provisional de la República Francesa, en 1944 y hasta el 21 de octubre de 1945. Su tarea es la de facilitar el regreso a Francia de 1.330.000 prisioneros, refugiados y deportados de la zona estadounidense y reintegrarlos en la vida nacional en cuatro meses (entre abril y julio de 1945). Los deportados franceses de la zona soviética son liberados con mayor lentitud. Henri Frenay y su ministerio deben proporcionar la lista completa de los desaparecidos para que los soviéticos los busquen en las zonas en las que sólo ellos tienen acceso. El Ministerio de Henri Frenay finaliza cuando el Gobierno Provisional traspasa sus funciones a la Asamblea Constituyente en noviembre de 1945.

Vida política Editar

La guerra hizo que evolucionara hacia la izquierda hasta encuadrarse en un socialismo no marxista. Tras la Liberación de Francia, será uno de los fundadores de la Unión Democrática y Socialista de la Resistencia (UDSR). Opina que la Resistencia no debe terminar "con el último cañonzao" sino convertirse en el motor de una reconstrucción política y social del país.

Fue un feroz adversario de los comunistas, que lo atacaron con dureza, especialmente mediante su periódico L'Humanité. Henri Frenay llevó a los tribunales al periódico que trataba de desacreditarlo, explotando su confuso comportamiento durante la ocupación nazi.

Sus deseos de construir una república fuerte y sólida se ven contrariados por las luchas entre partidos. Tras fusionarse su movimiento con el de los radicales de izquierda, dimite y vuelca sus esfuerzos en el proyecto europeo. Como presidente de la Unión de Federalistas Europeos(UEF), no compartía las ideas europeas de De Gaulle, con el que ya no se lleva demasiado bien, pero también contra los protagonistas de la IV República. Su fe en la construcción europea le lleva a participar en el congreso de La Haya en 1948, que creó el Movimiento Europeo. Frenay dimitió de la presidencia de la UEF tras el rechazo de la Comunidad Europea de Defensa (CED) en 1954.

Fue candidato no electo por la SFIO en las elecciones legislativas de 1958. Creía necesario el regreso de De Gaulle para plantear nuevas instituciones y para terminar con la guerra de Argelia. Sin embargo, en 1965, apoya la candidatura de Gaston Defferre a la presidencia, y propugna votar contra de Gaulle.


Activities and operations [ edit | edit source ]

The secret press [ edit | edit source ]

The activities of Combat originally revolved around the dispersal of information using secret newspapers. These pieces of information were provided to Frenay initially from army offices, then, after the disbandment of the French army, from the deuxième bureau of the Vichy regime. Combat quickly distanced itself from Vichy, after which information was gathered through various resistance groups with which Combat had links. These pieces of information fed into newspapers which were published from time to time. In the beginning Frenay mainly distributed bulletins in army offices these bulletins stopped after the army broke up.

In the occupied zone, the newspaper Les Petites Ailes du Nord et du Pas-de-Calais (little wings of the North and Pas-de-Calais) appeared. In time it became Les Petites Ailes de France, then Résistance. In the free zone, an underground newspaper was established, modelled on Petites Ailes de France. Its name was Vérités (Truths). Vérité (Truth) had been considered for the name, but was judged too philosophical according to Frenay, the truth was difficult, if not impossible to express. After the merger of Combat with Liberté, Vérités was scuttled and its place taken by a new newspaper bearing the name of the network, Combat.

Other small journals also saw the light of day, but gradually separated from the Combat movement. Examples are Veritas and the Catholic-oriented Cahiers du Témoignage Chrétien (Christian witness notebooks). These journals, particularly the important ones, contained propaganda articles against the Vichy regime, which revealed and criticised the actions of the government and state apparatus, as well as substantive pieces dealing with e.g. Nazism or collaboration. Frenay generally constructed the editorial of the Combat newspaper in person, until he joined de Gaulle in Algeria. The subtitle of the Combat newspaper was Organe du Mouvement de la Libération Française, accompanied by a quote from Georges Clemenceau: "Dans la guerre comme dans la paix, le dernier mot est à ceux qui ne se rendent jamais." (In war as in peace, the last word is theirs that never surrender). In 1943, a section Attentats (attacks) was added to the paper it contained a list of the paramilitary operations of Combat.

The first issue of the Combat newspaper appeared in late 1941 in Lyon, with a press run of 10,000. André Bollier replaced Martinet, the initial printer for the movement. He distributed the priniting across 14 presses in the free zone, thus reducing the need for transporting papers from Lyon, and allowing the run to be increased. In May 1944, the newspaper had a run of 250,000. Bollier was also responsible for printing Défense de la France (the future France-Soir), Action (a paper with communist sympathy), the first issues of Témoignage chrétien, et certains issues of the Franc-Tireur paper and La Voix du Nord.

Information [ edit | edit source ]

Alongside the underground press activities, information was sent to London by circuitous routes. These operations were directed by Jean Gemahling, from Alsace. The Noyautage des administrations publiques (infiltration of public services) was also established, with the original aim of recruiting public figures who would be able to assure the return of the republic after the Vichy regime fell. However, the NAP gradually changed direction and allowing itself necessary cooperation with public services and the ability to obtain basic information about German army movements. The NAP-police were created, whose members would warn their comrades about forthcoming arrests. Another branch, the NAP-fer led by René Hardy, provided the Groupes Francs with schedules of German supply trains from 1943. The NAP also operated within the customs service.

The Groupes de Choc [ edit | edit source ]

The Groupes de Choc were set up, generally specializing in attacks against collaborators and shopkeepers who sold collborationist papers like the Nazi magazine Signal (the shops of the latter were generally blown up). From 1942 onwards the GC gradually merged into the Armée secrète which was assimilating by degrees the various paramilitary groups of Combat, Libération and Franc-Tireur. This merging was encouraged by Frenay and Moulin, who wanted the operations of the GC remained separate from any intelligence and propaganda activities. For this reason, the leadership of the Armée Secrète was not conferred upon Frenay as he had initially wanted (his movement being more significant than the other two members of the MUR) but rather upon the division general Charles Delestraint, who was recruited by thee chef de Combat.

The Sabotage and Maquis sections were added to the network in 1943.

Groupes Francs [ edit | edit source ]

Frenay put Jacques Renouvin in charge of mounting Groupes Francs, mobile armed squads, in each of the six regions covered by the network. They were organised in the Choc branch of the network. They worked independently of the Armée Secrète but in contact with it to organise their operations and provide intelligence.

The Groupes Frances organised their operations on their own initiative, following the general framework which was given them. They communicated the results of their operations to the steering committee.

Before November 1942, the operations of the Groupes Francs were similar to those of the Groups de Choc. They were responsible for obtaining their own arms from supply dumps or police posts, and making their own explosives or stealing them from mines.

After the German invasion of the free zone in November 1942, the Groups Francs changed their operations style. They were ordered to attack trains containing German soldiers or going to Germany, to sabotage railway lines, to destroy arms factories and dumps and to assassinate Gestapo agents. The GF were supplied and armed by Britain through parachute dumps which provided them with Sten guns, pistols, ammunition, explosives, grenades and other equipment.

The GF also organised escapes for captured resistance fighters such as that of Paul Reynaud (planned and prepared but never executed) and the successful escape of Berty Albrecht who was being held at the Lyon-Bron psychiatric hospital.

In January 1943, Jacques Renouvin, was arrested by the Gestapo getting off a train. He was held in Fresnes prison. A commando raid was mounted to free him but all its members were arrested. Renouvin was deported to Mauthausen concentration camp where he died. He was replaced as head of the GF by a member of Libération.

The Maquis [ edit | edit source ]

In 1943 the steering committee of Combat learned that refugees from the Service du travail obligatoire forced labour had fled to Haute-Savoie and the Maquis had been created in the mountainous massifs. The service Maquis was established in Combat's Military affairs branch with the aim of helping all those who had "taken the maquis" to survive and to fight, and of providing them lives and armaments, and of integrating them into Combat's network. While the objective for Combat was to develop, oversee and organise these armed groups, there were some divisions relating to this at the heart of the MUR some, like Charles Delestraint, saw the Maquis as actual pockets of resistance within French territory, whereas others like Frenay saw them as armed bands operating by ambush and disappearing once their mission was accomplished.


How resistant was the Resistance?

I've always suspected that the French Resistance was a bit of a hoax, fine for movie scripts and 14th of July speeches, but mythologized out of all proportion. My suspicion was confirmed a few years ago when Andre Malraux, who should know, told me that there had been 4,000 Frenchmen in the Resistance and 40,000 in the Gestapo. It is now further confirmed in Henri Frenay's memoirs, “The Night Will End”

By Henri Frenay. Translated from the French by Dan Hofstadter. 469 pp. New York: McGraw Hill/ Book Company. $12.95.

I do not mean to disparage Mr. Frenay and his companions. He was a brave man who did the right thing. Early on, he founded the Resistance movement, Combat, took risks and saw some of his colleagues arrested, tortured and killed. But when one asks what Combat accomplished, the answer has to be: not much. A French Resistance group should not be seen as a commando unit but as a bureaucracy—paper work, recruitment, communications, flow charts, making up pseudonyms and forging false papers, arranging meetings, keeping on the move to avoid capture, all this was so time‐consuming that one can only sum it up with a Parkinson's Law of the Resistance—an organization that cannot do much more than sustain itself.

It is the difference between a man swimming and a man drowning and trying to keep his head above water. Combat published pamphlets and blew up a few trains, but mostly It kept its head above water. Which was useful enough, since it showed that there was in France an organized opposition to German occupation and the Vichy regime.

Thus, the book is not interesting as an adventure story, but as a longdelayed eyewitness report on the battle between the Resistance and its other enemy, General de Gaulle. In a short‐term perspective, the Resistance was a useful Instrument to shore up de Gaulle's credibility as a fighting ally. But in the long term, it was a potential rival, with its own leaders and its own troops, capable of mobilizing against him when the military struggle against Germany became an internal political struggle. De Gaulle's policy was not to help the Resistance but to bring it under his control. Privately he complained that the Resistance leaders were like feudal barons. He wanted them to join a London‐directed National Council of the Resistance. Frenay, who supported de Gaulle in principle but insisted on being his own boss, was summoned to London and told the General: “We are resisters, free to think and do as we choose. . . . It is up to us to decide whether, in the political domain, we shall carry out your orders or not.”

When Frenay obtained funds from Allen Dulles in Switzerland, de Gaulle charged him with insubordination, saying: “You should not have gone knocking on the Americans’ door. They welcomed you only because they believed they could circumvent de Gaulle.” Again called to London, Frenay left his Lyons headquarters in July 1943. By this time de Gaulle had formed a provisional government in Algiers. He offered Frenay the job of Commissioner of Prisoners, Deportees and Refugees. It was a way of getting rid of a troublesome baron by making him a peer of the realm, and Frenay took the bait. His Resistance career was over. He did not return to France until September 1944, after the Normandy landings.

With embittered hindsight, Frenay blames de Gaulle for first appropriating and then abandoning the Resistance: “Decimated by arrests and executions, mired in the machinations of the old parties, subverted by the Communists, by the summer of 1944 our movement no longer had the strength and autonomy necessary to initiate the revolution we bore within us.”

The real villain, Frenay concludes, was not de Gaulle but his emissary in France, Jean Moulin. Now it happens that Jean Moulin, who was betrayed to the Gestapo in 1943, tortured, and died without talking, is •the great canonized figure of the French Resistance In 1964, his ashes were transferred to the Pantheon, to rest alongside Napoleon's, and Malraux gave a memorable speech on the “Armee des Ombres.”

But according to Frenay, Jean Moulin was a Communist agent, whose motive was not to serve France or even de Gaulle but to prepare the way for a postwar Communist take‐over. “That Jean Moulin was a erypto‐Communist is the only satisfactory answer to my questions,” he writes. “I would not even dismiss the hypothesis that Moulin first went to London in 1941 with the blessings of the Communist party,” Frenay's only evidence is that some of the people Moulin recruited were Communists. By that standard, Frenay would have to call himself a Communist.

An old man's gnawing disappointment has made him look for villains where none exist. Frenay saw the Resistance as a movement that should survive the war and accomplish a social and political revolution. Instead it became a chapter of the past. After the war, Frenay was decorated and sent out to pasture he worked for the European unity movement and ran unsuccessfully for office in the Paris suburb of Montreuil — a sad figure, a champion of lost causes. His view of history is like those patriotic Images dɾpinal that French schoolchildren are given when they do good work —in primary colors, crudely drawn.


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Berty (sometimes spelled Bertie or Berthie ) Albrecht came from a middle-class Protestant family who settled in Marseille. Their ancestors came from Switzerland . She studied in Marseille, then in Lausanne and received her nurse diploma in 1911. She then went to London , where she worked as a supervisor in a boarding school for young girls. At the beginning of the First World War , she returned to Marseille and worked for the Red Cross at several military hospitals.

In 1918 Berty married the Dutch banker Frédéric Albrecht in Rotterdam , with whom she had two children, Frédéric and Mireille. The family lived in the Netherlands and moved to London in 1924 . There Berty Albrecht got to know English feminists and campaigned for equality for women. She separated from her husband and went to Paris in 1931, where she met Victor Basch , professor at the Sorbonne and president of the League for the Defense of Human and Civil Rights. In 1933 she founded the feminist magazine Le Problème sexuel in a country where women had no right to vote , where there was almost no contraception and where abortion was severely punished . In 1937 Berty Albrecht trained at the school Surintendantes d'usine , whose director was Jane Sivadon. She then worked as a social worker in an optical equipment company.

Antifascism and Resistance

Berty Albrecht rejected National Socialism and in 1933 took in German refugees in her villa La Farigoulette in the Beauvallon district of Sainte-Maxime . There she met the later captain Henri Frenay , who at the time belonged to the nationalist right. He was heavily influenced by Berty and a deep relationship developed between the two.

In 1940 Berty Albrecht was manager of the Fulmen plants in Clichy and Vierzon . Berty Albrecht and Henri Frenay, disappointed in Philippe Pétain , founded "le Mouvement de Liberation Nationale" at the end of 1940, from which the Combat resistance group emerged . From December of the same year, Berty Albrecht took part with Henri Frenay in the publication and distribution of the twice-weekly underground magazine le Bulletin . Together they then published two more newspapers: Les Petites Ailes de France , which was then renamed Vérités , and Combat .
Thanks to their contacts with Berty Albrecht, Pierre de Froment and Robert Guédon were able to continue their resistance activities.
At the end of 1941, General Charles de Gaulle was recognized by Berty Albrecht and Henri Frenay as a symbol of the resistance. However, they criticized that they should submit to his authority.

In 1941 Berty Albrecht worked at the Office for the Unemployed in the city of Lyon . As an official of the French state and a well-known activist before the war, she was monitored by the French police and also by the German authorities there. She set up a social service to help detained activists and their families. In 1942 Berty Albrecht was arrested by the domestic intelligence agency Surveillance du Territoire . She was able to escape and went underground. In November 1942, German troops also occupied the previously unoccupied southern zone of France, which was under the Vichy government , which worsened the situation of the Resistance. On May 28, 1943, Berty Albrecht was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo in Mâcon . She was imprisoned in Fort Montluc , which the Germans used as a prison. On May 31, 1943, Berty Albrecht was transferred to Fresnes Prison, where she committed suicide by hanging that same day . Her body was buried in the prison's vegetable garden, found there in May 1945 and reburied. She rests in grave number 5 of the Mémorial de la France combattante on Mont Valérien. You and Renée Lévy are the only women buried there.


Watch the video: Henri Frenay au micro de Jacques Chancel: Radioscopie 1973