Conflict & Justice

Raymond Aubrac, French resistance hero, dies aged 97


French Resistance leader Raymond Aubrac pictured in Paris, in May 2009.



Raymond Aubrac, one of the last remaining leaders of the French resistance, has died in Paris. He was 97.

Aubrac passed away at the Val de Grace military hospital last night, the Associated Press reported. His family said he had been suffering from fatigue. 

According to Agence France Presse, Aubrac was born to a Jewish family in north-east France. His parents later died in the Auschwitz death camp.

Aubrac went on to help set up one of France's first underground resistance networks, Liberation-Sud, to fight against the Nazi occupation during World War II. The BBC described him as "France's last survivor from the senior ranks of the Resistance."

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He was captured by the Gestapo in June 1943, alongside the head of the Resistance movement, Jean Moulin. Moulin was tortured and died, but Aubrac was rescued in a daring ambush led by his wife and fellow resistance fighter, Lucie Aubrac, who attacked the truck in which he and other prisoners were being transported.

The couple escaped to London and joined Charles de Gaulle's exile administration. 

After the war, Aubrac helped supervise reconstruction efforts and later worked for the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization. He remained involved in left-wing politics, according to the BBC, and was supporting Socialist candidate Francois Hollande in this year's presidential election.

Lucie died in 2007.

"These underground heroes, who saved France's honor when it seemed to have been lost, are disappearing one after the other," said a statement from the office of President Nicolas Sarkozy. "We are duty-bound to preserve their memory at the heart of our collective remembrance."

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