This is Jean Moulin.
Moulin was a Frenchmen who served his country in the Great War and was a civil servant during the interwar years before German occupation and the formation of the Vichy government. While he is mostly unknown to the majority of the population, he is the symbol of French resistance during the Second World War because it was he who made French resistance the French Resistance, a single unified force under the leadership of General de Gaulle.
However, he isn’t simply remembered for that reason alone, but instead of the sacrifice he gave to his country. In July 1943 he was betrayed—though it still isn’t clear who, though many point to Raymond Aubrac—and was arrested (along with several others Resistance members) by the Gestapo. During his arrest in Lyons, Moulin was interrogated extensively by Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon. He was transported to Paris, where he once again was interrogated before being put on a train to Germany—which would most likely be the end of the line. However, despite the horrendous beatings, torture, and the knowledge that he was most likely going to die, it is recorded that Moulin never once broke or said a word against the Resistance.
On 8 July 1943 Jean Moulin died on a train, somewhere outside the city of Metz.
To this day it isn’t clear whether Moulin died from the injuries he sustained during interrogation or if he committed suicide. Barbie alleged that it was suicide, as have several biographers—citing Moulin’s earlier attempt on his own life in 1940 while in prison as enough proof. However, many people still believe that Klaus Barbie beat Moulin to death and he has become more than a legend, if not a myth in French culture, overshadowing fellow resistance leaders.
October 29, 2012, 1:00pm / 60