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Lucie Samuel

Discussion in 'Women at War' started by Jim, Apr 19, 2007.

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  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Lucie Samuel was born in France on 29th June, 1912. She studied history at university and became concerned about the activities of Adolf Hitler after visiting Nazi Germany during the 1936 Olympic Games.

    Lucie began teaching history at a school in Strasbourg just before the outbreak of the Second World War. A member of the French Communist Party, she married fellow member, Raymond Aubrac, in December, 1939.

    After the defeat of France in 1940, Lucie and Raymond Aubrac moved to the unoccupied zone in Lyon. Later that year she met Emmanuel d'Astier in a cafe. Together they established the left-wing Liberation-sud resistance group.

    For the next two years Lucie and Raymond Aubrac, who was an engineer, lived double lives as resistance organizers. They were also involved in the publication of the Liberation newspaper.

    Lucie Aubrac gave birth to her first child, Jean-Pierre, in May 1941. She often took her child to meetings with resistance leaders such as Jean Moulin, to divert the attention of the Milice.

    At the end of 1942 the German Army occupied the whole of France and Lyon became the headquarters of Gestapo chief, Klaus Barbie. In March 1943, Raymond Aubrac was arrested. However, after two months of being interviewed he was released.

    On 7th June 1943, Rene 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 Jean Moulin and Raymond Aubrac at an important meeting of the French Resistance at a doctor's surgery at Caluire in Lyon on 21st June, 1943. Moulin was tortured before being moved to Paris where he died from his injuries on 8th July 1943.

    Raymond Aubrac was held and tortured in Montluc Prison in Lyon. Lucie Aubrac, who was pregnant with her second child, visited the prison and claimed that she was unmarried and that Raymond was the father of her expected child. She pleaded that Raymond be allowed to marry her before his execution. The Gestapo believed her story and allowed the couple to get married. While being transferred back to prison after the "marriage" armed members of the resistance attacked the lorry and freed him.

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    Lucie and Raymond went into hiding until a plane could take them back to London, where they arrived in February, 1944. On March, 1944, General Charles De Gaulle announced that once France was liberated, women would be given the vote. A consultative assembly was established, which Lucie joined. She therefore became the first woman to sit in a French parliamentary assembly.

    After the war Lucie Aubrac was a member of the tribunal which tried the Vichy leader Henri-Philippe Petain. She also continued to teach history. The couple remained active members of the French Communist Party. She once said: "Resistance is not just something locked away in the period 1939-45. Resistance is a way of life, an intellectual and emotional reaction to anything which threatens human liberty."

    In retirement she visited schools and told the students about her experiences during the war. She also wrote a couple of books about the French Resistance including Outwitting the Gestapo (1984).

    In 1983 Klaus Barbie was arrested in Bolivia. Before his trial, Barbie let it be known that in court he would reveal new facts about the resistance. This included the claim that Raymond Aubrac became an informer after being arrested in March, 1943, and that he had been responsible for the arrest of Jean Moulin.

    Barbie died in September, 1991. Soon afterwards the so-called "Testament of Barbie" was released that once again accused Raymond Aubrac of being an informer. In 1997 the journalist, Gerald Chauvy published a book that relied on information supplied by Barbie to suggest that Aubrac had betrayed Jean Moulin.

    In 1998 she and her husband won a libel case against Chauvy. Her book, The Resistance Explained to my Grandchildren, was published in 2000.

    Lucie Aubrac died on 14th March, 2007.
     
  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Raymond Aubrac was he a hero or not? Was this a ploy by Barbie, or was he telling the truth? Good of Barbie to leave us to debate such a possibility.. :ponder:
     
  3. Shadow War44

    Shadow War44 New Member

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    Does it really surprise you that a Nazi like Barbie would leave us with a controversy? I think he wanted to go out by discrediting anyone he could.
     
  4. Goldberry

    Goldberry New Member

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    Communist?

    In a way, though, isn't it almost as bad that they ended up members of the Communist party? Communism, at its root, is just as despotic as Nazism. What do you think?
     

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