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Raymond AUBRAC

French Raymond AUBRAC

born Raymond SAMUEL

Leader of the French Resistance during the Second World War

Source :  Matthieu RUYS

Born: on July 31, 1914 in Vesoul, France
Died: on April 10, 2012 in Paris, France


Biography

Aubrac was born Raymond Samuel into a middle-class Jewish family in Vesoul, Haute-Saône. His father, Albert Samuel, was born in 2 March 1884, in Vesoul and his mother Hélène Falk was born on 2 March 1894 in Crest. His parents were shop owners. Active in left-wing student politics, he first met a fellow young radical, Lucie Bernard, during meetings of students with Communist leanings while he was pursuing civil engineering studies at the École nationale des ponts et chaussées from 1934 to 1937. He received a scholarship to further his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University for a year, starting from the summer of 1937.

Samuel was serving in the French army as an engineering officer on the Maginot Line at the outbreak of the Second World War. He met Lucie Bernard again in Strasbourg. They married on 14 December 1939 in Dijon. Samuel was taken prisoner by the German army on 21 June 1940, but he managed to escape from the internment camp with the aide of his wife. He and Lucie joined the French Resistance in October 1940. He also became an attaché to the staff of the French Army. He adopted several noms de guerre, among them "Vallet, Ermelin, Balmont and Aubrac". Their Resistance activities started off with buying boxes of chalk and writing graffiti on walls. They then moved on to writing tracts and putting them into people's letterboxes. In the autumn of 1940, they also formed one of the first underground Resistance groups - Libération-Sud - in Lyon. In May 1941, after the birth of their first child Jean-Pierre, they helped Emmanuel d'Astier de La Vigerie to set up an underground newspaper called Libération to promote the French Resistance. Raymond Aubrac was arrested by the Milice on March 15, 1943 in a routine raid. He was operating with fake identity papers under the pseudonym François Vallet. His captors had no idea whom they had captured. He was eventually released two months later.

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