Missak Manouchian: The French Armenian who fought fascism

“…In a few hours I will no longer be in this world. We are going to be executed today at 3:00. I don’t believe it, but I nevertheless know that I will never see you again… ”

excerpt from the last letter of Missak Manouchian to his wife.

The national hero of France Missak Manouchian was born in 1906 in the city of Adiyaman of the Ottoman Empire.

From the first days of the war, he joined the fight against fascism, organizing an underground organization together with a group of associates.

The Manouchian group is credited with the assassination attempt of Paris Commandant von Schaumburg and the liquidation of SS General Julius Ritter, who was responsible for sending 600 thousand civilians to penal labor in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Together with his wife, Mélinée Manouchian, he was involved in the French Resistance against the fascist invaders, then became the leader of the FTP-MOI group (French Main-d’œuvre immigrée).

On February 21, 1944, after three months of interrogation and torture, at the age of 37, Manouchian, along with 21 members of his group, was executed by firing squad at the Fort Mont-Valérien fortress near Paris.

In order to discredit the Resistance, the Nazis published thorough Paris red posters listing the victims of the partisans and labeling them as “Army of Criminals.” Those posters read: “Manouchian: an Armenian leader of the gang, 56 attacks, 150 dead, 600 wounded.”

But to their surprise, “Affiche Rouge” or the “Red Poster” caused a wave of anger among the French people, and partisans were honoured as heroes.

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