In the morning, the Head of State will attend the traditional military ceremony at the Mont Valérien memorial near Paris, the main place of execution of resistance fighters and hostages in France by the German army during World War II. He will later fly to Berlin for a working dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The day after his arrival in London on June 17, 1940, De Gaulle called on French soldiers, engineers and workers to join him in continuing the fight against Nazi Germany, despite the armistice requested by Marshal Pétain. “Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished,” he declared, concluding his famous radio intervention, which very few French people had heard at the time.
We are not going to start this cinema over again, no one heard it, the call!
Resistant from the start, who left for London at the end of June 1940, Hubert Germain, who will celebrate his 101st birthday this summer, will be present this Friday alongside President Macron. 81 years ago, it was not the appeal of June 18 that decided him to join the Resistance. “We are not going to start this cinema over again, no one heard it, the call! We have all heard this frightening speech from Marshal Pétain, saying that we had to end the war and lay down our arms. It was a shock ”.
“Strength of soul”
A legionary during World War II, Hubert Germain fought in Syria, Libya where he took part in the battle of Bir Hakeim, in Egypt, in Italy, in Provence, in the Vosges and in Alsace. Wounded and decorated by General de Gaulle at the end of June 1944 in Italy, the veteran – now a resident of the Invalides – is the last survivor of the Order of Liberation created by the leader of Free France.
Only 1,038 people received the title of Companion of the Liberation. Upon his death, Hubert Germain will be buried at Mont Valérien.
“We owe it to ourselves to be inspired by this strength of soul,” the Head of State told him on June 18, 2020. “Your courage, your virtue in the Roman sense of the term, are a source of pride for our country and for us. still inspire ”.
This Friday, Emmanuel Macron will decorate another illustrious veteran: Léon Gautier, 98, the last survivor of the Kieffer commando which landed in Normandy in June 1944. The 177 marines of the Free French Forces of the Kieffer commando, integrated into the Royal Marine Commando N ° 4 , are the only French in uniform to have participated in the Allied landings. Bearing the name of Lieutenant-Commander Philippe Kieffer, who had formed this group of volunteers, the commando, trained in Scotland, landed on June 6, 1944 at Sword Beach.
The feats of arms of these French commandos were belatedly recognized. De Gaulle had not been associated with the preparations for the D-Day landings. It was not until 1984 to see President François Mitterrand pay tribute to the Kieffer commando for the first time in Ouistreham (Calvados).
A unit of the commandos of the French Navy still bears the name of Kieffer and the green beret of the navy commandos is worn “lying on the right”, the badge on the left “in the Anglo-Saxon style”, a memory of the constitution of these commandos in Scotland in 1942.
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