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 Missak Manouchian

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Missak Manouchian

  • Birth 1 Sep 1906
  • Death 21 Feb 1944
  • Burial Ivry-sur-Seine, Departement du Val-de-Marne, Île-de-France, France
  • Plot Division 39. Manouchian's grave is just to the right of a memorial along the cemetery wall.
  • Memorial ID 23557324

World War II Armenian-French Resistance Leader. Celebrated as one of the fiercest fighters against the Nazi occupation of France. Born in Adiyaman, Turkey, he lost his parents to the Armenian Genocide and was raised in an orphanage in Syria, settling in Paris in 1925. In 1934 he joined the French Communist Party and rose to prominence in its Immigrant Workers section (the MOI), while working as a journalist. He also wrote poetry and edited two magazines devoted to Armenian culture. After France fell to Hitler's armies in June 1940, Manouchian took part in the MOI's more militant resistance efforts. The recklessness he showed in his early missions made his superiors uneasy but won the admiration of partisan leader Joseph Epstein, who demanded an escalation of violence against the Germans. In 1943 the MOI was merged into the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (Partisan Irregular Riflemen, or FTP), the umbrella organization of France's foreign resistance fighters, and Manouchian and Epstein were given joint command of clandestine activity in the Paris region. With his own guerilla unit, a band of 22 mostly Jewish Communists from seven countries, he began terrorizing the occupying forces with grenade and small-arms strikes, train derailments, and arson fires to buildings used by the Nazis. Between August and November 1943 the Manouchian Group was responsible for 56 attacks, killing 150 German soldiers and wounding 600. Their most daring act was the September 28 assassination of SS General Julius Ritter, head of the German forced labor service in Paris. Around this time a captured French partisan gave up detailed information about the FTP-MOI's organization and the Germans, working with the French police, began to close in. By mid-November the Gestapo had rounded up some 70 members of the FTP-MOI, including Epstein and the entire Manouchian unit. Manouchian himself was arrested at Evry on November 16 and subjected to weeks of torture. During his imprisonment a notorious Vichy-Nazi propaganda piece, "l'Affiche Rouge" ("The Red Poster"), depicted him as a "gangster" leading an "army of crime"; conversely, for many French citizens it helped immortalize him as a hero of the Resistance. Manouchian and 21 of his colleagues were executed by firing squad at Fort Mont-Valerien on February 21, 1944. In a final letter to his wife he wrote, "I joined the Army of Liberation as a volunteer, and I die within inches of Victory and the final goal. I wish for happiness for all those who will survive and taste the sweetness of the freedom and peace of tomorrow. I'm sure that the French people, and all those who fight for freedom, will know how to honor our memory with dignity. At the moment of death, I proclaim that I have no hatred for the German people, or for anyone at all". Poet Louis Aragon commemorated the Manouchian Group in his poem "Strophes pour le souvenir" (1955), later adapted into a famous song by Leo Ferre. Today a park, a street, and several memorials in Paris are dedicated to him.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


Died For France





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 25 Dec 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 23557324
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Missak Manouchian (1 Sep 1906–21 Feb 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 23557324, citing Cimetiere d'Ivry, Ivry-sur-Seine, Departement du Val-de-Marne, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .