Friday, February 19, 2010

Memorial to Jean Moulin the resistance fighter

It seemed to be a day for discovering memorials of the atrocities of World War II .

Copied from the internet:

Jean Moulin, the son of a professor of history, was born in Beziers, France, on 20th June 1899. He was conscripted into the French Army in 1918 but the First World War came to an end before he had the opportunity to see action.

After the war Moulin joined the civil service and rose rapidly to become the country's youngest prefect. Influenced by his friend, Pierre Cot, a radical pacifist, Moulin developed left-wing views. During the Spanish Civil War Moulin helped to smuggle a French aircraft to the Republican Army fighting against the Royalists.

Moulin refused to cooperate with the German Army when they occupied France in June 1940. He was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo and while in his cell he attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a piece of broken glass. After recovering he was released from prison.

In November 1940, the Vichy government ordered all prefects to dismiss left-wing mayors of towns and villages that had been elected to office. When Moulin refused to do this he was himself removed from office.

Over the next few months Moulin began to make contact with other French people who wanted to overthrow the Vichy government and to drive the German Army out of France. This included Henry Frenay, who had established Combat, the most important of all the early French Resistance groups. He also had discussions with Pierre Villon who was attempting to organize the communist resistance group in France. Later, Moulin was accused of being a communist but there is no evidence that he ever joined the party.

Moulin visited London in September, 1941 where he met Charles De Gaulle, Andre Dewavrin and other French leaders in exile. In October 1941, Moulin produced a report entitled The Activities, Plans and Requirements of the Groups formed in France. De Gaulle was impressed with Moulin knowledge of the situation and decided he should become the leader of the resistance in France.

Moulin was parachuted back into France on 1st January, 1942. Moulin brought with him a large sum of money to help set up the underground press. This included working with figures such as Georges Bidault and Albert Camus who had both been involved in establishing the Combat newspaper.

Moulin's main task was to try and unite all the different resistance groups working in France. Over the following weeks he arranged meetings with people such as Henry Frenay (Combat), Emmanuel d'Astier (Liberation), Jean-Pierre Lévy (Francs-Tireur), Pierre Villon (Front National), Pierre Brossolette (Comité d'Action Socialiste) and Charles Delestraint (Armée Secrete). After much discussion Moulin persuaded the eight major resistance groups to form the Conseil National de la Resistance (CNR) and the first joint meeting under Moulin's chairmanship took place in Paris on 27th May 1943.

On 7th June 1943, René Hardy, an important member of the resistance in France, was arrested and tortured by Klaus Barbie and the Gestapo. They eventually obtained enough information to arrest Moulin at Caluire on 21st June. Jean Moulin died while being tortured on 8th July 1943.

Below the monument is this little cage containing an urn of the soil from where he was murdered.

Below the memorial an urn of the soil that Jean Moulin was murdered on.

Earlier I had walked by the Theater and noticed this plaque on one corner.

Memorial on the front of the Theatre

The word Biterrois is what the people from Beziers call themselves. Like if you are from Toronto you are a Torontonian. On the last day of World War II the Nazies murdered ten people from Beziers at this place.

In between visits to monuments I attended all three of Beziers Friday Markets The Flower Market, The Food Market and the everything else Market. Here are a few of the pictures there are more on my flickr account just click on any of the photos and it will take you to them.

In the everything else category:

Friday Market Day in Beziers

Still with the everything else category:

Friday Market Day in Beziers

Lots of livestock:

Friday Market Day in Beziers

Friday Market Day in Beziers

Friday Market Day in Beziers

And of course the good stuff:

Friday Market Day in Beziers

Friday Market Day in Beziers

Had lots of fun just looking around but of course I had to make some purchases.

My days shopping.

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