Summary of Gestapo Cases
by Vincent Reynouard
Translated by C.W. Porter
In France, the German Police (incorrrectly referred to as the Gestapo) almost never struck blindly
The following is a list of trials in which the defendants were members of the “Bonny-Lafon” gang (“French Gestapo”),”Neuilly Gestapo” (Martin-Van Houten gang), “French Gestapo auxiliaries” or “Georgia Gestapo”. I have attempted in each case to summarize these cases as objectively as possible.
This explanatory list shows once again that the German police and its agents, with few exceptions, did not strike arbitrarily, far from it.
Case of the Bonny-Lafon gang
The Bonny-Lafon Gang was the reason for the existence of the “French Gestapo” in Rue Lauriston. The trial was held in December 1944, only two months after the complete Liberation of French territory. After the serious excesses of August-October 1944, the objective of this first trial of a “Gestapo” gang was to show the country that justice would be meted out to all “traitors” and “collaborators”, thus rendering unnecessary any undisciplined settlement of accounts with a mere appearance of legality.
In this atmosphere, the prosecution was conducted in such a way as to establish the facts with enough clarity to justify the condemnation of the accused. But it went no further. Hence their very rapid, imperfect nature, which the Court did not even attempt to deny:
"COMMISSIONER FOR THE GOVERNMENT. — We are obliged to recognise that the presentation of prosecution evidence was particularly rapid […].
THE PRESIDENT. — I recognise it given the circumstances…
Mr DELAUNEY. — […] You’ve got to admit that there are gaps in the dossier.
THE PRESIDENT. — There is no doubt" [PBL, 3, pp. 10-11].
I) Arrest of Mr Lambrecht (during the summer of 1940)
Mr Lambrecht was “the head of the secret services of la Belgique Combattante” (PBL, 1, 13). He hid out in Toulouse. According to the defendant Pierre Bonny, Mr. Lambrecht’s arrest permitted the apprehension of “600 persons”
“600 persons, according to Bonny, had been arrested by the Germans as a result of Lambrecht’s arrest” (PBL, 1, 13).
In court, the interested party stated: “THE PRESIDENT. — You have even stated the figure of 600 persons. BONNY. — 600, that’s what I mean to say” (PBL, 2, 25)].
II) Arrest of Jacques Paul Kellner (2 November 1941)
J. P. Kellner “had been a member of a Resistance organisation” at Boulogne-Billancourt (PBL, 2, 53). He was discovered “as the result of an interruption of correspondance and along inquiry” (PBL, 1, p. 24) conducted by the services of the Hôtel Lutetia under the responsibility of Captain Scheffer (PBL, 2, 55). On 2 November 1941, agents of the service of the occupying power searched the offices of Mr. Kellner’s factory and discovered “an American Morse code sender” (PBL, 1, pp. 23-4). A few hours later, Mr. Kellner was arrested in his home, at Paris. An employee of the factory, named Paulin and a certain lady named Skoff, were also arrested “at whose home a large file of names was confiscated” (PBL, 2, p. 53).
III) The Tournus Case (Saône-et-Loire, 71700)
Arrest of a commissioner, who, according to H. Chamberlain (known as Lafon), “smuggled Jews into Free France in order to rob them” (PBL, 1, 44). He was said in particular to have robbed and murdered a family of Dutch Jews in order to steal the diamonds they were carrying.
But, from the Court’s admission, the presentation of evidence was very largely incomplete in this matter and no verification was ever performed. We do not know what happened to the commissioner.
IV) Isolated networks (4 cases)
Many networks failed. These operations had the following consequence:
IV.1) The arrest, in 1943, of Madame May, wife of a singer, “accused by the Germans of engaging in anti-German espionage” (PBL, 1, p. 45). We do not know what happened to her.
IV.2) The arrest, at the same time, of an unknown person for reasons which remain unknown. We do not know what happened to him or her (PBL, 1, p. 45).
IV.3) The arrest, during the winter of 42-43, of a “a certain number of persons” suspected of belonging to a “[Resistance] organisation located at Paris and Gentilly, headed by Mr. Paul Appel, former Deputy from la Manche”. Nevertheless, according to P. Bonny, the information giving rise to this operation were “recognised to be inexact and the arrests were not upheld” [PBL, 1, p. 46. For P. Bonny’s confirmation at the hearing, see PBL, 3, pp. 22-23].
IV.4) Giverny Case (Eure, 27620)
An informant informs the German police that a storage place for illegal weapons had been set up in the region of Giverny:
Escorted by a non-commissioned officer and four German soldiers, Lafon carried out an initial inquiry which proved unsuccessful, as several people answered the description of the weapons supplier.
Kieffer [German commander working in the Avenue Foch], alerted at Paris, came to identify him in person and is said to have promised him that he would not be bothered if he surrendered the weapons.
The person interrogated then delivered 36 parachute cylinders containing 5 tons of weapons and was never further inconvenienced, at all times according to Lafon. [PBL, 1, p. 47].
V) Anti-parachuting actions (3 cases)
V.1) Arrest of a group of (British) parachutists discovered thanks to the decoding of broadcast messages in code. They were “shadowed by the German police services who arrested them after a few days, after allowing them to contract French Resistance members”(PBL, 1, p. 48). “Six Allied agents” were arrested with them, “of whom [were] handed over to Kieffer” (PBL, 1, p. 49).
V.2) Amboise operation (Indre-et-Loire, 37400)
The Amboise operation ended in the shadowing of two French citizens from Angers to Paris, and then from Paris itself. After their arrest, one of them was found to be carrying false papers, military documents issued in Angers, addresses for correspondence and the sum of 4 million francs. He declared that his name was Lieutenant-Colonel Bonotaux.
First taken to Rue Lauriston, Lafon handed him over to Kieffer with the money and papers found on him (PBL, 1, p. 49).
V.3) Fourth operation at Angers
This operation led “to the arrest of two Englishmen and two Frenchmen. Lafon arrested them and handed them over to Kieffer” (PBL, 1, p. 50).
VI) The case of “Defense of France” organisation
This case began with two informers. One of them was named Serge Marongin. Aged 25 years of age and of Italian origin he was a student of the medical sciences (PBL, 1, p. 51).
In January 1943, S. Marongin provided the first information on an organisation “which was said, according to him, to have committed several assassination attempts or bombings in the Metro and attacked an escort of prisoners heading for the prison of Fresnes” (PBL, 1, p. 51). He gave the address of their meeting place, in boulevard du Maréchal Lyautey, Paris:
Lafon agreed to take charge of the inquiry and accompanied by about a dozen men from Rue Lauriston […] and a few German non-commissioned officers, he proceeded, after some nighttime surveillance, with the arrest of five men for his own account, however the Germans with him arrested three men and a woman for their part.
These persons were handed over to Kieffer […] [PBL, 1, p. 51].
Shortly afterwards, Marongin “provided information on the clandestine Defence of France organisation. This was a small group with its own printing shop, which distributed clandestine tracts” (PBL, 1, p. 51):
Marongin aided in the preliminary inquiry, which lasted three months […].
The information provided by him and by the other investigators were centralised by Bonny who drew up the files and reports, a copy of which was made available to Hess by Lafon.
At the end of three months, twenty names of Resistance members were discovered, along with the location of their meeting place and known annexes […].
Upon conclusion of the inquiry, the advisor in criminal matters, Boemelburg, who, with Kieffer, concerned himself with the matter, give the order to go into action on 26 July 1943 [PBL, 1, p. 51-2].
144 arrests were made in two days, 15 of them definitive, the other persons having finally been released after being cleared of suspicion (PBL, 1, p. 53). Among the persons arrested was Geneviève De Gaulle, who was finally deported to Ravensbrück (PBL, 1, p. 54).
VII) Expeditions to Montbard (Côte d’Or, 21500) and Bort-les-Orgues (Corrèze, 19110) in 1943
VII.1) Expedition to Montbard
At German orders, a “large scale operation” was organised against maquisards [members of the rural Resistance] in the region of Montbard” (PBL, 1, p. 56-7).
Bakers and merchants suspected of feeding the Resistance were arrested as well as two doctors, a man and a woman (with his wife and son) on the grounds of aiding the Resistance:
“Dr. Thierry had been designated by one of the reports as having sheltered two men guilty of attacking a resident of Montbard and stealing his ration cards” (PBL, 3, p. 100, interrogation by P. Bonny).
The doctor, Françoise Thierry, “was interrogated by Bonny at the Feldgendarmerie of Montbar and released a few hours later” [PBL, 1, p. 57.
At the hearing, P. Bonny spoke of an even shorter lapse of time: “it lasted two minutes. When she said she was a doctor, we said: “You can go, you’re free”“(PBL, 3, p. 100, interrogation of P. Bonny). F. Thierry confirmed this: “THE WITNESS. — He asked me for an explanation of the registered letter receipts, the mailing of packages, things of absolutely no importance. He told me to think about it. I returned to the large room of the Feldkommandantur. Then he called me back. He released me, saying: Don’t start all over again, you may leave” (PLB, 6, p. 159, sworn statement by Françoise Thierry”).
The physician’s wife, Mme Plait, was also released, but her husband and son were transferred to Paris and finally deported to Germany (PBL, 1, pp. 57-8). In all, there were “twelve to fifteen” arrests followed by transfer to Paris [PBL, 3, 87, interrogation of defendant Paul Clavié.
Were these people guilty? In December 1944, one of the persons arrested, who had been released for lack of evidence, declared: “Saying that they worked for the Resistance, I don’t know. They were all deported to Germany and are there now, they didn’t trust me at all” (PBL, 6, p. 152, sworn statement of Léon Théobalt). But shortly afterwards, he stated that an initial operation had been carried out at Montbard “against teachers and priests who had arrived with children from the region of Paris and who were supposed to help the Resistance, which is perfectly true, by the way” (Ibid., p. 156).
While the Plait family was being interrogated, was search was performed at their domicile. It later appeared that “jewels of great value” had disappeared:
Since Mme Plait protested, Bonny summoned her to Paris and returned some of the jewels.
Lafon explained that these thefts had been committed by the Corsican gang [a gang led by a criminal named Suzzoni, who was the rival of Lafon’s gang. Despite this rivalry, the two sometimes worked together (PBL, 1, p. 75) and he had finally been successful in making him disgorge a part of his ill-gotten gains [PBL, 1, p. 58].
At the hearing, P. Bonny confirmed this:
“BONNY. — The theft was committed. We knew almost immediately that this theft had been committed, at Mme Plait’s. Lafon gathered all his men in my office. I was present. He said: “I seized a telegram from the Feldgendarmerie of Montbar, a theft was committed, I want to know the value. Nobody leaves until we know the value”. After a few moments, the thief introduced himself. It was a guy named Ferrando.
THE PRESIDENT. – Was he a member of the Corsican gang?
BONNY. – Not exactly. But he was with them just the same. He wasn’t Corisican; that’s why I say “not exactly”.
Lafon asked him where the jewels were. He gave an address. Some of the jewels were found. Lafon asked me to draw up a letter to Mme Plait, I did so immediately. Mme Plait came, a certain time afterwards, to take possession of the jewels which had been found.
THE PRESIDENT. – Did she come to Rue Lauriston ?
BONNY. – Yes, to take possession of the jewels which had been stolen. Each time there was a theft and unfortunately there were a few, Lafon never hesitated to punish the guilty person severely. Only, obviously, in this environment, it was a little bit difficult.” (PBL, 3, pp. 102-3).
VII.2) Expedition to Bort-les-Orgues
At the same time, several persons were arrested within the framework of a similar operation not far from Bort-les-Orgues:
The prisoners were taken to Auxerres, then Fresne, but were released shortly afterwards, according to confidential statements made by Bonny, and Lafon to Pagnon [PBL, 1, p. 58].
At the hearing, the defendant Pagnon confirmed the above:
“THE PRESIDENT. – […] You have declared, [Louis] Pagnon, that the prisoners were taken to Auxerre, then Fresnes, you say they were released shortly afterwards.
PAGNON. – Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT. – I can easily believe that they were released; sit down” [PBL, 3, 103].
VIII) The case of the North-African brigades
In 1943, the creator, in France, of the Comité Musulman de l’Afrique du Nord et du Cercle d’Etudes Nord-Africain, Mohamed El Maadi, needed paper for the newspaper he published, Er Rachid (The Messenger). He went to the “French Gestapo” in Rue Lauriston to ask Lafon to intervene in his favour [“LAFON. — He had asked me if it was possible to ask him for paper for his newspaper” (PBL, 3, 104)]. Lafon intervenes before three large newspapers of the time and Mr. El Maadi reçeives his paper [“Towards mid-1943, an Arab, El Maadi, head of the Islamic group of France, came to visit Lafon in Rue Lauriston to interest him in the publication of an Arabic-language newspaper which he edited and which was called Er Rachid.
“Thanks to Lafon’s intervention before the newspapers Paris-Soir, L’Echo de la France and Les Nouveaux Temps […], El Maadi reçeived substantial assistance.
Er Rachid reçeived the delivery of paper and the paper was printed on the presses of Paris-Soir.” (PBL, 1, p. 58-9)]. Er Rachid continued to appear until August 1944.
Gradually, the idea of recruiting North Africans was born. According to Lafon, the idea first came from the German services in Avenue Foch, headed, at that time, by Mr. Boemelburg, “knew El Maadi and his secretary” (PBL, 3, p. 105, sworn statement by Lafon). “Boemelburg, he said, wished to recruit North-Africans the way he had recruited Georgians” (Id.). He only wished to use them “to guard”“premises owned by Germans”.
“LAFON. — For guard duty, to relieve the service. For example, Avenue Foch… THE PRESIDENT. — He intended to use these North Africans in the struggle against the maquis. LAFON. — No: for guard duty.” (PBL, 3, p. 105)].
Finally, after several interviews, “approximately 300 Arabs” were recruited and combined in a house in Neuilly,21 Avenue de Madrid (PBL, 3, 107).
“The Germans were first rather evasive and only authorised the recruitment of 300 Arabs in the end, after several interviews, who, trained by Frenchmen, were to be scattered between Toulouse, Limoges, Périgueux etc.” (PBL, 1, p. 59).
After the rejection of certain elements which proved unsatisfactory, five sections of about thirty men each were set up (PBL, 1, p. 59-60). The Arabs enrolled were “given special uniforms” (provided by… Joinovici) and armed by the German services in Avenue Foch (PBL, 1, p. 60). Their wages amounted to 5,000 F per month, “paid by the Germans, as were their equipment expenses” (PBL, 1, p. 60 and 3, p. 110).
In February 1944, the sections were scattered between Limoges, Périgueux, Tulle and Montbéliard.
VIII.1) The Corrèze Case
The section recruited at Tulle (Corrèze, 19000) participated in a struggle against the maquis near the village Cornil, near Correze (PBL, 1, p. 61). Other operations were later carried out, always in Corrèze, among which those of the Saillant d’Allassac and Objat (PBL, 1, p. 61). Some maquisards were arrested, including a certain Victor “an influential member of the [local] Resistance” (PBL, 1, p. 64). He was said to have suffered “the worst tortures during his interrogation by the heads of the Arab brigade” (PBL, 1, p. 64).
VIII.2) Case of the rapes in the Doubs
The Montbéliard section (Doubs, 25200) maintained surveillance of the Peugeot factories in which “sabotage had been committed by the workers” (PBL, 3, 137, remarks by the President); “about thirty persons were arrested and handed over to the Germans”(PBL, 1, p. 65). Nevertheless, the Arabs committed crimes, particularly the “rape of several women”, which led to repressive measures by the Germans against this brigade” (PBL, 1, p. 65).
At the hearing, this story of the rapes was confirmed by the defendant, who nevertheless spoke in the form of hearsay:
“THE PRESIDENT. – It appears from the confidential remarks made by Maillebuau to Deleheye who spoke of the matter in the course of drawing up the file, that these excesses committed by Arab guards and particularly the rape of several women had led to repressive measures taken by the Germans against the brigade. Deleheye, is that correct?
[Edmond] DELEHEYE. – That is correct” [PBL, 3, p. 137].
VIII.3) Dordogne Case (rescue of Eymet)
The Périgueux section fought the maquis [rural Resistance] from March to June 1944 (PBL, 3, p. 138), arrested a local head of the Resistance (a certain “Vincent”) and confiscated weapons [PBL, 1, p. 65 et 66. On Vincent’s arrest, see PBL, 3, pp. 159-60, statements of the defendant Alexandre Villaplana].
The most important operation took place at Eymet (Dordogne, 24500). Certain inhabitants had been denounced for assisting British paratroopers (PBL, 3, p. 139).
In his letter, the anonymous informant had also given other names, including Mr Reynaud and Mr. Lormand.
The German police chief proceeded with the arrest of both persons, then he gave Mr. Raynaud five minutes to speak; if he refused to speak he would be shot with the other inhabitants and the village burnt [PBL, 3, pp. 140-1, sworn statement of Alexandre Villaplana].
Alexandre Villaplana then intervened and interrogated Mr. Reynaud. Mr. Reynaud declared that he had been the victim of a machination. The agent succeeded in obtaining a postponement of several hours before the execution from the German police chief [“I was then able to postpone the execution by asking the adjutant police chief to grant me a few hours to find out whether I could succeed in finding the weapons. He told me, after a bit of hesitation, I’d like to, but this evening, at 7 o’clock… (PBL, 3, p. 141)].
Continuing his interrogation, he learned from an inhabitant of the village, Mr. Morganti, that the anonymous denunciation came from Mr. Lormand’s daughter-in-law, who was angry with him because she was in the process of divorcing Mr. Lormand’s son. This woman had already sent a first letter of denunciation (apparently without success)
“I resumed my interrogation of the entire Lormand family. It was a real family drama what was happening in this village in which people are very small minded […]. At six o’clock, Mr. Morganti gave me a clue and made me understand that this might come from Mr. Lormand’s daughter-in-law. I asked him why. He said: because she is divorcing Mr. Lormand’s son; she had already sent a first letter and I saw her take 50,000 F from her father-in-law’s chest; it was an act of revenge to do that” (PBL, 3, pp. 141-2).
A. Villaplana immediately sent for the suspect:
I informed myself and I sought to find out where Mr. Lormand’s daughter-in-law was; we found her 500 metres from the mayor’s office, hidden behind a tree; she was waiting to see what was going to happen. We took her to the mayor’s office. […]. After three quarters of an hour of interrogation, she finished by admitting that she had sent the two anonymous letters against her father-in-law [PBL, 3, p. 142].
The members of the Reynaud and Lormand families (as well as the other designated victims) were therefore saved. A few days later, he came to Périgueux to thank A. Villaplana (PBL, 3, pp. 141-2).
During the trial, Mr. Lafon defence attorney asked commissioner Clot, who had investigated the matter, whether or not Mr. Lafon had not “taken advantage of the undeniable credit that he enjoyed before the Germans to obtain the liberation of a great number of Frenchmen”. The commissioner replied:
“COMMISSIONER CLOT. – There’s no doubt of it. I must tell the truth, since Mr. Lafon, who betrayed his country, did a great deal of harm to France, but he did good to private individuals, without a doubt” [PBL, 6, p. 22.] PHOTO
VIII.4) Arrests at Tarbes
Under the leadership of a certain Paul Clavié and a German officer, one of the sections (including about forty Arabs), took part in a large-scale expedition to Châteauroux at Tarbes. In the first town, a block of houses was surrounded and thirty arrests were made (PBL, 1, p. 63). But the section “ran into a very bad ambush by the maquis at Angoulême and was decimated” (PBL, 1, p. 62).
IX) Arrest of Mr. Crassuski and Mr. Chevot (March 1943)
“There were two people who were clandestine members of Resistance organisation, particularly, supplying identity cards and other documents to facilitate the return of prisoners from Germany” (PBL, 2, p. 107).
Case of the “Neuilly Gestapo”
The so-called “Neuilly Gestapo” trial (PGN), hearing on 12 November 1945. Presentation of the evidence, part two: “The various matters held to incriminate the defendants”.
I) Arrest of a woman, named Cottel.
In July 1940, Raymonde Fonfrède, married name Cottel, a resident of Rue du Cherche-Midi à Paris, was arrested. In her home, the police found “correspondance exchanged with British military personnel while she formed part of the Health Service at Touquet” (PGN, 1, p. 15). Suspected of membership in the Intelligence Service, she was taken to the premises of the”Neuilly Gestapo”, in Rue Pétrarque:
Martin [the reference is to François Martin, known as “Rudy”. He later appears under his real name and pseudonym both] in the presence of [Gédéon] Van Houten proceeded with the interrogation, accusing the Cottel woman of belonging to the Intelligence Service. She was locked up for four days, Martin and Van Houten taking turns supplying her with food.
Following her release, she became Mr. Van Houten’s mistress [Ibid., pp. 15-16].
II) Arrest of Nicolaï Raineroff
In the spring of 1941, N. Raineroff was arrested “on the basis of information that he had maintained relations with Resistance agents and Allied agents” [PGN, 3, p. 48, sworn statement of the officer, Roger Sirjean].
A trap was set, as he himself explained during the hearing:
A comrade had offered to get me smuggled out to England. The smuggler in question was Rudy [PGN, 4, p. 32, sworn statement of Nicolaï Raineroff.]
Arrested and taken to Rue Maurice Barrès, he was held for eight days, then released in exchange for working for F. Martin as a translator:
“[Martin] proposed either that I work as a translator or to be deported with my father. I agreed to work” (Id.).
In the statement of the facts, we read: “He was interrogated by Van Houten several times in order to find out whether he belonged to a resistance group and he was freed by Van Houten” (PGN, 1, p. 16). But the interested party himself denied it at the hearing:
“Mr. RAINEROFF. — […] He asked me what I was doing there.
THE PRESIDENT. — To find out whether you belonged to a resistance group. M. RAINEROFF. — Absolutely not.” (PGN, 4, p. 34)].
III) Arrest of Mr. Carrère and Mr. Rodian
Mr. Carrère, from Paris, “formed part of a resistance group which had hidden a storage of weapons with Mr. Rodian at Joinville” (PGN, 1, p. 16). They were both arrested at the end of August 1941 by Frédéric Martin, who produced a “German police card”(p. 17).
Carrère was taken to Neuilly and interrogated by Martin in the presence of two German officers. Although Martin had given him 25 minutes to indicate the location of his group’s arms cache, Carrère kept silent.
He was locked up, handcuffed, in a chamber and over the course of his detention, which lasted 14 days, he was interrogated several times, both day and night.
Despite numerous threats and even despite the announcement that he had been sentenced to death without trial, Carrère did not speak [PGN, 1, p. 17].
[…] Mr. Rodian, at whose house the weapons were hidden, was arrested the same day as Carrère, taken to Martin, interrogated and struck savagely by Martin. He was supposed to be taken to Fresnes afterwards [PGN, 1, p. 17]
IV) Arrest of Mr. Ouizman
Mr. Ouizman was a Jew of Moroccan origin in an irregular situation: under the occupation, he “hid in Paris with false papers” (PGN, 1, p. 17). He was arrested within the framework of a small black market transaction: the sale of a few chronometers to a certain “Francis” who was in reality an agent provocateur in the service of the Germans:
[Francis] took the “policemen” to Ouizam. Unfortunately, at this same moment, Ouizam’s mistress arrived, with a letter in her purse establishing that Ouizam had false papers. The couple were arrested and taken to Bd Victor Hugo.
Martin interrogated Ouizam and attempted to make him admit that he was a Jew, a spy and a gold trafficker. Ouizam was interrogated for 48 hours and beaten […].
In view of the absence of evidence against him, he was liberated along with his mistress, not without receiving a few offers to “work” with Martin, offers which he never followed up [PGN, 1, p. 18].
V) Arrest of Mr. Charles Caron
“Communist or communist party sympathizer” [PGN, 3, p. 66, sworn statement of an officer, Roger Sirjean.], Mr. Caron was arrested on 12 November 1942 because he was “suspected of having committed sabotage against the railway lines and cut telegraph lines and burnt wheat mills in a farm, all in the Oise” [PGN, 3, p. 95, sworn statement of Police Inspector Emile Nouzeilles].
The official responsible for the arrest was Lucien Jouanneteau, inspector of criminal police at Paris, who also worked for the “Neuilly Gestapo”. What happened to Mr. Caron? In his statement of the facts, we read:
“He was immediately taken to Bd Victor Hugo and placed in Martin’ s presence, who showed his Gestapo card [this should be understood to mean his SR card].
At Mr. Caron’s reply that he didn’t care, Martin gave him a violent blow with a truncheon.
“Following this initial appearance, Mr. Caron was locked up in the cellar, in a cell, after being deprived of his shoes.
Martin was interrogated for five days by Martin and his agents under the accusation of being a Communist and, since he refused to answer, he was violently struck each time.”
This was confirmed at the hearing by the witness himself:
“THE PRESIDENT. — Didn’t they get the information they wanted from you?
THE WITNESS. — Not at all: I didn’t talk (PGN, 4, p. 75).
“At the end of fourteen days, Caron was freed, no proof having been obtained against him […] [PGN, 1, p. 19].
Again, this was confirmed at the hearing when the President read the witness’s declaration before the preliminary inquiry:
“Five of six days afterwards [after my arrest], since I still hadn’t said anything and since they had no evidence against me, I was transferred to the third floor of the building, in a little room, and five or six days afterwards, I was freed”(PGN, 4, p. 78).
L. Jouanneteau’s superiors were very unhappy at having wasted their time with an innocent person. They shouted at him:
“Look at this time-waster!... A real policeman? He brings you a case that won’t stand up.” [PGN, 3, p. 99 sworn statement of Police Inspector Emile Nouzeilles].
At the hearing, Police Inspector E. Nouzeilles would say:
“Luckily, Caron wasn’t in the Resistance; if he had been, with all the beatings he got, he might have betrayed his comrades and this could have led to the arrest of about ten good patriots, maybe more”[PGN, 3, p. 99].
VI) Case of the Lahaye children
This was a regrettable case in which a member of F. Martin’s team, Pierre Lahaye, whose wife had obtained a divorce and custody of the children, took the children away with her by force, with the assistance of his colleagues. He succeed in having a commissioner of police and a bailiff, who had carried out the order concerning the custody of his children, arrested and held as hostages. Then he went to his ex-wife “with a Gestapo agent and a German officer” (PGN, 1, p. 20). There, he declared that the two hostages would not be released until his child was returned to him:
Mme Lahaye was supposed to comply, but she filed a complaint against her husband. Her husband then warned his wife’s lawyer that if she persisted in her demand, she would be deported to Germany. The inquiry effectively established that Mr. Chain, commissioner of police at Neuilly-sur-Seine, had been held as hostage in the services of Bonny-Lafon pending the return of the Lahaye children to their father [PGN, 1, pp. 20-1].
VII) Arrest of Henri Phegnon and Phegnon and Roux, two young girls
Mr. Phegnon, insurer at Vernouillet (Seine et Oise) forming part of the resistance group in this locality [He was the head: “Since I was the head of the Resistance at Vernouillet” (PGN, 5, p. 90)]. On 1 December 1943, Mr. Phegnon and his secretary, Mlle Roux (who was aware of her employer’ s activity) were arrested by Rudy Martin at their offices, Rue Saint-Lazare à Paris.
They were taken to 5, Avenue du Général Dubail, and immediately interrogated. Mr. Phegnon was violently struck several times, and was subjected to the torture of the bath tub four times in one night.
The objective was to squeeze information out of him:
“THE WITNESS — […] They wanted to know the name of my comrades, since I was the head of the Resistance at Vernouillet. Since I didn’t answer, they hit me with a whip on the head, and they soaked me in a bathtub, five or six times in a row” (PGN, 5, p. 90.).]
The same day, Mlle Collette Phegnon, daughter of the above, was apprehended in her father’s offices and taken to Rue du Général Dubail. There she was interrogated and, she maintained, beaten by Rudy Martin because she did not wish to answer.
“THE PRESIDENT. — Were you beaten? Did he hit you with a truncheon, perhaps?
THE WITNESS — No, with his fists. He picked me up by the hair.
THE PRESIDENT. — Even a young girl, he didn’t hesitate to hit you !... He hit you […]
THE WITNESS — […] Then he confronted me with my father.”
At the confrontation, she said according to her father: “No, papa, it’s not us, we didn’t do anything, you know, papa, nothing.” (PGN, 5, p. 89, sworn statement of Henri Phegnon)].
She continued: “He threatened me with the bathtub. But that stopped there.” (PGN, 5, 96, sworn statement of Colette Phegnon)].
As to the secretary, Mlle Roux was taken to Fresnes with her employer. They both stayed 5 and a half months.
During his stay at Fresnes, Mr. Phegnon was interrogated in a correct manner by German judges: “those who really interrogated me, at Rue des Saussaies, were correct. They asked a lot of questions, always about the same things: they wanted to know the name of the organisation I belonged to, who the other members were. But I wasn’t mistreated at all” (PGN, 5, p. 91).
In the end, they freed him. The German judge responsible for his case told him:
“I argued your case. I never wanted to send you to Germany. And then, finally, I had no evidence against you. I asked for your release and it was granted.” (PGN, 5, p. 92). PHOTO]
Mlle Phegnon, for her part, was freed after a few days [PGN, 1, p. 21]
VIII) Arrest of Mr. Pasteau
Mr. Pasteau “belonged to a Resistance movement (the OCM group)” (PGN, 1, p. 22). On 17 December 1943, fell into a German trap. He was arrested and interrogated one first time by F. Martin. At night, however, he succeeded in fleeing:
After Pasteau’s escape, his wife and sister-in-law, Mlle France Porés, were arrested on 18 December 1943. They were taken to Av. du Général Dubail and while awaiting Martin’s arrival, they were interrogated by [Ernest] Lupescu […].
They were then interrogated by Martin and released.
This is confirmed when one reads the Mme Pasteau’s sworn statement at trial:
“Towards midday, Rudy finally got to me and interrogated us, my sister and myself. Then, at about one o’clock in the afternoon, we were released after a search of my sister’s domicile” (PGN, 2, p. 89).]
“During their interrogation, Lupescu insulted [this should be: “was said to have insulted”] Mr. Pasteau, declaring that he was deceiving his wife, that he didn’t deserve her trust… that he was a swine” [PGN, 1, pp. 22-3]
[This was confirmed at trial by Mme Pasteau: “I remember, in any case, that Lupescu told me that my husband was deceiving me, that he was sleeping with another woman, that he was a bastard, etc….” (PGN, 2, p. 90).
But Lupescu denied this:
“M. LUPESCU. – […] I didn’t say it. […] Why would I have told this woman that? I don’t know Mr. Pasteau, I didn’t know that he had been arrested, I had never seen him except in photographs. That someone or other, in the office, may have said it, I don’t know, I can’t say they didn’t, but me, personally, no. I never use those words.” (PGN, 2, p. 60).
IX) Discovery of a body in the garden at 78, Bd Maurice Barrès, Neuilly.
On 19 March 1945, in connection with the inquiry into the doings of the F. Martin gang, a body was dug up in the garden at 78, Boulevard M. Barrès, Neuilly:
[…] It was not possible to identify the body, which was in such an advanced state of decomposition that Dr Paul was unable even to discover the cause of death [PGN, 1, p. 23].
To these cases, one must add a tenth, revealed during the third hearing by the Roger Sirjean, officer of the Criminal Police:
X) Murder of a certain Rubentel
The case was linked to the black market. F. Martin and G. Van Houten had laid a trap for two black marketeers, Mr. Abrabanel and Mr. Rubentel, pretending that they wanted to complete a transaction with them. On the day of the appointment:
“[…] the currencies, gold and paper money are on the table. At this very moment, Van Houten and Rudy show their Gestapo cards, take out their pistols and say ‘German police. Gestapo’. The gold was confiscated.
Reaction on the part of Mr. Rubentel; unfortunate reaction for him and Rudy shoots, mortally wounding Mr. Rubentel in the vicinity of the heart [PGN, 3, p. 50].
Case of the “French Gestapo Auxiliaries”
So-called “French Gestapo auxiliary “trial (PAFG), hearing of 24 February 1947. Statement of the facts, chapter II: “The various cases with which the defendants are charged”.
I) So-called “economic cases”, (related to the black market)
II) Case of a Resistance headquarters (p. 6), around Easter 1944:
“Violette Moriss had informed Rue des Saussaies about French officers forming part of a specialist group in parachuting and sabotage” (p. 6). A first action permitted the arrest of a colonel, his wife and a captain, as well as the discovery of the mail box used by the group. This find permits the arrest of three other persons, for a total of six. The prisoners were taken “to the fort of Vincennes and shot” shortly before the German retreat (p. 7).
III) Case of the parachutings at Montlhéry (Essonne, 91310)
This case also arose as the result of denunciation on the part of V. Moriss.
“A quantity of weapons had been parachuted at the exit from Montléry a short distance in front of the aerodrome and the Resistance members were guarding the parachuted weapons” (p. 8).
German soldiers visited the spot indicated. “The soldiers surrounded the area and shooting broke out between Resistance members and Germans. After about half and hour of fighting, the Germans took control of the area. Seven Resistance members had been killed or seriously wounded, the rest, about ten of them, were taken to Rue des Saussaies and in bad shape, were taken charge of by the Wehrmacht and probably executed” (p. 8).
IV) Case of the Meaux parachutists (Seine-et-Marne, 77100)
Informed by the Gestapo, Germans went to near Meaux where a parachuting had taken place: “Towards 23 h, two planes had dropped containers. As soon as they disappeared, we surrounded the area tightly and a short gunfight broke out; two Resistance members were wounded, three others were take prisoner and the team proceeded with the seizure of five tons of weapons and ammunition which had been parachuted. The prisoners and materiel were taken to Rue des Saussaies and taken in charge by the Wehrmacht” (p. 8).
V) Cases without name
V.1°) Arrest of Etcheberry-Billet-Soyer
These three French men were involved in arms dealing. They were arrested for having illegally supplied members of the Gestapo – who had laid a trap for them – with a shotgun and two revolvers (pp. 8-9). They were deported and “have not returned” (p. 9).
V.2°) Arrest of Colangelo-Rocca-Vitti
Benoît Colangelo was a prisoner who escaped in 1943 (p. 9). While in a café with two other comrades (Mr. Rocca and Mr. Vitti), in the suburb of Paris, the group was apprehended by French auxiliaries who were passing by. The tree comrades were taken to Fresnes then deported to Buchenwald. Two returned in 1945, but Tino Vitti died in deportation.
In this case, everything leads one to believe that the men were innocent and were arrested by accident:
“Mr. COLONGELO. — My arrest and that of my comrades was not premeditated. It was an accident” (PAFG, hearing of 1 March 1947, p. 45.
VI) Case of Rue Halévy (Paris)
Mr. Zuber, a Resistance member, “had been a member of the Mithridate network since 1943” (p. 10). “He had organised, in the premises of the company of which he was the director, an organisation intended to assist persons evading the STO [compulsory labour service]” (p. 10).
With four accomplices, Mr. Willemetz, Mr. Bernardin, Mr. Joguet and Mr. Picard, they “drew up false identity cards and false working certificates, and, with the assistance of Mr. Scheigoffer’s assistance, placed by the network within the Organisation Todt, they were able to prevent the departure for Germany of these STO dodgers under the cover of a phony job in that organization” (p. 10).
After the Gestapo had infiltrated the network, it arrested Zuber, Bernardin, Picard and Willmetz. Shortly afterwards, Joguet was arrested at his home (p. 11). M. Scheigoffer was able to escape them. All, except for Picard, were deported. Bernardin died in deportation, the two others returned in 1945 (p. 11).
VII) Case of General Lelong’s Château (at Montgeron, Essonne, 91230)
General Lelong had joined Charles De Gaulle in 1941. His wife and daughter remained in their Château at Montgeron. But “ever since 1942”, they had “worked for the Resistance” (p. 12). The lady of the Château “hosted members of the headquarters of the OCM and CNR [Resistance groups] at her Château” (p. 12).
Mme Lelong was arrested on 9 May 1944. On 22 June, the Gestapo raided the relevant location in Montgeron, arresting Mlle Lelong, Captain Massiet and Mr. Vernazobres, Mr. Morestin, Mr. Arnaud, Mr. Emonnet and Mr. Hurlin (p. 13). Captain Massiet was able to escape. Mme Lelong and her daughter were deported to
Ravensbrück whence they returned. The men were also deported; Mr. Hurlin Mr. Vernazobres returned (i.e., four who returned out of six deportees).
VIII) Siot Case (TSF outpost) [radio transmitter-receivers]
Mr. Siot produced TSF sets in secret. He was denounced by an employee who worked in a TSF factory with a shop front, but whose owner had problems with the Gestapo for black market activities. Finally, Mr. Siot got out of trouble by paying 30,000 F, twice, and supplying five TSF sets (pp. 14-15).
IX) Arrest and execution of information agents (Richelieu-Drouot crossroads, Paris)
At the beginning, the Gestapo learned “that two information agents were in the habit of visiting a cafe at the Richelieu-Drouot crossroads” (p. 15). An expedition permitted the arrest of the two individuals. “Their interrogation was extremely violent [..]. The next day, their execution was decided upon” (p. 15).
Taken to the fort of Vincennes “they were shot [there] by two German soldiers with a burst of submachine gun fire” (p. 16).
X) Anti-maquis raids in the Loir-et-Cher
X.1°) Santenay case (41190), 16 July 1944
On the evening of 16 July 1944, at Santenay, French auxiliaries visited a tobacco shop owned by a certain Mr. Vonnet. This establishment was used as meeting place for regional Resistance members. The auxiliaries were greeted with gunfire upon their arrival. Having returned fire and taking control of the situation, they arrested Mr. Vonnet and one Resistance member. The first was killed to make the Resistance member talk. A little while later, his wife was also apprehended, but she was not subject to any mistreatment.
Sent to prison at Blois, the couple were freed on 10 August 1944 as the result of an attack by the Resistance (pp. 17-8).
The Resistance member who had been arrested was found to be carrying a false ID card. He claimed to have obtained it from Mr. Jules Armand, mayor of an adjacent municipality, Herbault.
X.2°) Arrest of the mayor of the municipality of Herbault (41190), 17 July 1944
On 17 July 1944, French auxiliaries therefore visited Jules Armand. This was a man 70 years gold who lived with his wife. Only the mayor was arrested; his wife was not bothered.
“During his interrogation, he was horribly mistreated by [the auxiliaries]; Combier, in particular, pointed the barrel of his pistol at his temple. After several hours of interrogation, he was incarcerated at the prison of Blois, where he was liberated by the Resistance on 10 August 1944.
“In trying to obtain confessions from this old man, Combier had theatened to burn his house and arrest his wife, who was 70 years old” (p. 18).
X.3°) Cours-Cheverny case (Cheverny, 41700), le 30 July 1944
On 29 July 1944, the French auxiliaries mounted an expedition in a tavern at Cours-Cheverny where, according to the information received (which proved accurate), Resistance members were being sheltered (p. 18). After surrounding the house, they entered the interior. The clients were taken out into the court yard to control their identity documents. The owner, Mr. Pointard, who was just coming home, was apprehended in turn. A search was conducted which lasted two hours. While the operation was underway, a certain Armand Crahes, who was passing by in the street, was arrested and interrogated.
After the search, Mr. Pointard (who was not taken away) verified the disappearance of jewels and 15,000 F in cash (p. 19).
What did he do? He filed a complaint for theft (p. 21).
On 30 July, the auxiliaries came back to perform a new search and check the identity documents of all clients on the premises. “however the conversation took place in a calmer tone than the day before, and they all drank several bottles of wine together” (pp. 20-21).
On 31, the auxiliaries demanded, under threats, that Mr. Pointard withdraw his complaint; the tavern owner finally agreed (p. 21).
The auxiliaries also wished to search another tavern in the village, held by Mr. Rouillard. “Quite luckily, [auxiliary Combier] contented himself with questioning Mr. Rouillard alone, since Rouillard had a cache of weapons in his house. Combier restricted himself to making threats and left him alone.” (p. 19).
On 30 July, the auxiliaries visited Mr. Lecour, denounced as a Resistance member. As Mr. Lecour was absent, they found his wife, then seven months pregnant.
“Mme Lecour, seven months pregnant and with another child only one year old, was home when Combier and his team arrived. These individuals performed a correct search of the house and attempted to obtain information on Mr. Lecour’s whereabouts, menacing her with their pistols. Combier was unscrupulous enough to slap Mme Lecour, despite her condition”(p. 20).
X.4°) Expedition in force against the Resistance in the Romorantin region (41200).
An initial gun fight took place in a village about twenty kilometers from Romorantin. Some Resistance members fired some shots on the arriving troops from the cafe:
“Upon arriving in the village, some Resistance members fired on his troops, from a cafe. The house was immediately surrounded and a heavy fusillade broke out on both sides. After ceasing fire, three patriots were arrested and were compelled by threats to indicate the positions of the Resistance” (p. 22). One Resistance member who was “badly beaten up” pointed to a wood. The Germans approached but did not succeed in entirely surrounding the wood, “which permitted the patriots to scatter and put a swamp between them and the Germans” (p. 22).
X.5°) Case of the executions in the Pontijou wood, 13 June 1944
On 11 June 1944, the Germans attacked the Souches château (municipality of St-Julien-sur-Cher, 41320) where some Resistance members lived. Four arrests were made. The prisoners were taken to the Gestapo at Blois and were joined by six other prisoners in the same situation. All were executed by a burst of machine gun fire in a wood no far from the village of Pontijou. Two survived since they were only wounded (p. 23-4).
XI) Case of the Boulevard Suchet in Paris (American parachutists)
Six American parachutists were arrested on the Boulevard Suchet in Paris. One of them revealed the presence, on this boulevard, of a clandestine TSF device: “the tortures were extremely violent and under their effect, one of the Americans indicated the location of a transmitted in the Boulevard Suchet” (p. 25). All six men were summarily executed in the Torfou wood (p. 25).
XII) Case of the Rue de la Harpe, Paris, 7 August 1944
Three Resistance members (including a Jew) had laid a trap for the Gestapo. Passing for black marketers, they acted in such a way as to ensure that they would be noticed. The objective was to kill any Gestapo agents who came to arrest them. But the operation failed and the three accomplices were really arrested:
“They were, in reality […] agents of the Resistance who had unmasked Combier and his acolytes and had laid a trap for them. Really, one of the ‘vendors’ started firing as soon as the [Gestapo] agents got there. A fusillade immediately broke out on both sides. Combier arrested the Jew while his companions arrested the other two individuals” (p. 26).
Taken to Rue des Saussaies, they underwent a severe interrogation. The Jew succeeded in jumping through the 4th floor [this would be the 5rd floor in America] window and killed himself instantly, falling to the courtyard. The two others were shot the next day at the Fort de Vincennnes (p. 26).
XIII) Execution of Resistance members at the Fort de Vincennes in August 1944
Summary execution at the Fort de Vincennes, towards 10 August 1944, of “nine patriot prisoners held at Fresnes” (p. 27).
XIV) Case of the patriots executed at the Bois du Boulogne, 15 August 1944
On 15 August 1944, thirty Resistance members, who had been arrested shortly before “as the result of an attack in the Rue des Ternes” were grouped together in the courtyard of the Rue des Saussaies (p. 27). A few were shot on the spot, while the others were taken to the Bois de Boulogne “where they were executed” (p. 28).
XV) Case of Sainte-Menehould (51800), 24 August 1944
On 24 August 1944, an arms cache was discovered in the Sainte-Menehould region. “25 Frenchmen, among them Mr. de Bigault du Granhupt, a member of the Secret Army, his father and brother, were arrested in this operation” (p. 28). They were interrogated. A physician was shot on the spot; Mr. du Granhupt’s Château was pillaged and burnt; thirteen Resistance members were deported to Germany.
“While Mr. de Granhupt was able to return from the Nazi extermination camps, his father, brother and four others died there” (p. 28).
XVI) Case of the fake policemen
[Cases related to the black market]
Case of the Georgia Gestapo
Trial known as the “Georgia Gestapo Trial”. Statement of the facts (Edf) and stenographic record of the hearings (the first issue is that of the jacket in which the records are classified).
I) Cases in the Paris region:
I.1) Frépin Case, February 1944
This concerned a Resistance group which is said to have existed in the Latin Quarter in Paris. Closed without follow-up (Edf, pp. 33-4).
I.2) Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse Case (Yvelines, 78470), May 1944
One of the defendants, Georges Collignon, had signaled from the ground to Allied aircraft flying over the countryside dropping leaflets. Closed without follow-up.
I.3) 15th Arrondissement Case, Paris, July 1944
Arrest of about ten persons, including a young man (a certain Novoborowsky) apprehended in the middle of the street with a briefcase carrying copies of a clandestine newspaper, Le Patriote Russe (9, p. 123), which was anti-German. The individual attempted to flee. The agents responsible for arresting him shot at him and wounded him. He was taken to the Hôpital de la Pitié (12, p. 45ter).
I.4) Case Pillard, March 44
A woman was denounced for sheltering parachustists. The follow-up given to this casee are unknown (Edf, pp. 35-6).
I.5) Casee de Peroy-les-Gombries (Oise, 60440), March 44
A Resistance network was dismantled, the Resistance members arrested and handed over the Feldgendarmerie at Creil (Edf, p. 36)
I.6) Case of the Montmorency parachutists (Val d’Oise, 95160)
Two British parachutists were arrested after parachuting into Montmorency forest (pp. 36-7).
I.7) Case of the “five young people” apprehended at the Gare d’Austerlitz (Paris)
Some young people were apprehended at the Gare d’Austerlitz (Edf, p. 37 et 2, pp. 48 ff.). They were trying to reach England to join the Gaullist forces. On 21 July 1945, one of them, who was returning from deportation, Roger Foucher, declared: “I was leaving to fight with General de Gaulle” (10, p. 17).
I.8) Gabriel Laaban Case, January- April, 1944
The Jew Gabriel Laaban was a Resistance member whose friend, Mr. Vogel, supplied false papers (at a price of 10,000 FF for an identity card [2, p. 73]).
G. Laaban was not very discreet: at Toulouse, he had met a young lady of easy morals, Hélène De Tranze. He saw her again in Paris while she was working as a secretary for the “Georgia Gestapo”. Despite this fact, he did not conceal his illegal activities from herM
“HÉLÈNE de TRANZE. — The first day I saw him again, he told me he was a Resistance member, that he could have identity cards made” [2, p. 73]).
In order to trap this small group, agents in the service of the Germans passed themselves off as members of the Resistance wishing to reach Toulouse. G. Laaban supplied them with a diagram of the house which had been requisitioned by the Gestapo in Toulouse (it was his father’s house) as well as the addresses of two members of the Gestapo, Katz and Wolff, who had arrested his father and brother.
On 5 April, during a meeting arranged to carry out the transfer of the false documents, G. Laaban was arrested, “taken to the Gestapo, accused of an assassination attempt against Capitain Schweitzer, whipped, water-boarded, sent to Fresnes, then Drancy, and finally deported to Weimar. He was able to escape while travelling through the regions of St-Quentin” (p. 40).
Mr. Vogel was also arrested and then deported. As of the date of the trial, nothing had been heard from him.
I.9) Petit-Clamart Case (Hauts-de-Seine), autumn 1943
Thanks to a Communist who had become a double agent, Bernard Hubert (1 p. 155), the Gestapo infiltrated a group of Resistance members supplying false papers issued by the mayor’s office in Luc-en-Dordogne (p. 42). The case was closed by the arrest of several Resistance members at Périgueux.
I.10) Case of the PTT Network, June 1944
A Resistance network organised within a local PTT [Post, Telephone and Telegraph] building was dismantled. “The group was very active, had a relatively large budget and large quantities of weapons” (p. 44).
The first arrests took place in June 1944 at the cemetery of Thiais during a trap laid in the form of an appointment with Resistance members. Thanks to the interrogations, the Germans came to know that the members of the PTT organization possessed a “mail drop”in the concierge’s lodge of a building located at 4, Rue Margueritte, Paris. The name of the concierge was Mme Memain, wife of René Memain.
This “mail drop” permitted them to correspond with other local groups (commanded by Mr. Rio, known as Mr. Lenoir). Mr. et Mme Memain, as well as their son Marcel and the son’s financee, Mlle Genet, were in cahoots:
“The fiancee, Mlle Genet, was also a member of the group, and assisted her future husband, who had been appointed to an important post in the Resistance, typing Gaullist pamphlets in the lodge itself” (Edf, p. 51).
On 13 June 1944, auxiliaries of the Germans performed a search in the lodge in which Mme Memain and Mlle Genet were there: “Tracts, address lists, documents, 2 typewriters were confiscated and taken away.—- A sum of 50,000 F was discovered in an envelope [...]” (Edf, p. 52).
On the 6th floor, the agents “laid their hands, in a maid’s room, on a large quantity of weapons (grenades, submachine guns, incendiary bombs, etc.) which had been placed there by Marcel Memain, who was the arms storage specialist of his Resistance group” (Edf, p. 57).
Arrested not far away, Marcel Memain was brought back to the lodge in handcuffs, a search permitted the discovery that he was carrying a revolver.
The Gestapo agents then received the following mission: “to stand guard in the lodge [...], arrest everyone appearing for any reason apparently connected with this matter or asking to speak to any of the Resistance members in the lodge” (Edf, p. 52).
The other Resistance members arrested were not mistreated in any way, except for three:
- ”Towards 15 h. 30, a liaison agent of Mr. Rio, Dr. Bireau [also spelled Biro], appeared, asking to see “Mr. Lenoir”.
“He understood that he had fallen into a trap and attempted to flee. It was at this instant that Blanchet jumped him and a fierce struggle began. Dr. Bireau was the stronger. He flattened Blanchet and struck Collignon very hard, who unfortunately succeeded in getting loose, and drawing his weapon, opened fire on Dr Bireau”.
“The bullet struck the victim in the abdomen and became lodged in his spinal column.” (Edf, pp. 53-4).
A physician called on the spot confirmed a serious internal haemorrhage. Dr. Bireau was evacuated to Hôpital de la Pitié. Operated on 6 July, he remained paralyzed in one leg. He was transferred to the infirmary at Fresnes. He was liberated on 17 August by the arrival of the Allies.
- Mr. Rio arrived the next day towards 10 h.
“He was immediately identified by Collignon, who had his photograph. He asked him if he was Mr. Lenoir. The other denied it. Collignon slapped him and hit him with his fist a number of times, the blows with the fist being directed at the stomach, after putting him in handcuffs under cover of his revolver” (Edf, pp. 55-6).
At the hearing, R. Collignon denied having hit Rio with his fist:
“COLLIGNON. — I gave him one or two slaps […].
THE GOVERNMENT COMMISSIONER. — And some blows with your fist in the stomach.
COLLIGNON. — I gave him one or two slaps”; “I only slapped him” (3, p. 17).
Mr. Rio was deported to Germany.
- Towards 16 h, on 16 June, two Resistance members, Mr. Boulet and the nurse, Muller, arrived at the lodge. They were asked for their papers. Mr. Boulet pulled a revolver. But two agents, Solins and Fontini, had already drawn theirs. They drew and emptied their weapons into the two new arrivals. The fusillade was so severe that the bullets flew in all directions, riddling the lodge. (Edf, pp. 57-8). Mr. Boulet was hit by four bullets, but not very seriously wounded. Mlle Muller was mortally wounded by one or two bullets (2, p. 23) and died two days later.
The inquiry later focused on the Danton telephone central. Two Resistance members were arrested. Then a woman was apprehended in her home. Her boy friend, Mr. Cléret, employed Marcel Memain as a secretary and “was, like them, a member of the PTT organisation” (Edf, p. 71).
After the Rue Margueritte Case, he had gone to take refuge at Seine-et-Oise (today, les Yvelines) to “avoid an arrest which he felt to be imminent” (Edf, p. 66). The agents in the service of the Germans visited the Clérets and conducted a search (“there was absolutely indescribable disorder” said Collignon at his trial [3, p. 28]). Mme Cléret was placed under arrest and interrogated on the spot:
“Collignon and Terrile proved very tough” (Edf, p. 66). Taken to Rue des Saussies, “she was housed with several persons arrested in the cases of the PTT and who had been tortured with violence” (Edf, p. 66).
Informed of the situation, Mr. Cléret “did everything he could to gain her release. Through friends, he succeeded in contacting one of the lieutenants of Odicharia [...] who demanded 150,000 F from Mr. Cléret for the favour. Cléret agreed and Mme Cleret was released on 7 August 1944” (Edf, p. 67).
The German police also wished to arrest Mr. Meley, head of the PTT network. But after the events of Rue Margueritte, he had taken flight, leaving his wife alone at home. The agents attempted to find out where he was hiding.
On 20 June, R. Collignon passed himself off as a member of the Resistance (3, p. 51) wishing to see Mr. Meley. Mme Meley contented herself with answering: “My husband is not there”. R. Collignon simply went away (Edf, p. 67).
2) On 28 June, Gestapo agents came to the apartment at midnight, “tore everything apart and searched everywhere.” (Edf, p. 68.
At the hearing, R. Collignon denied this:
“COLLIGNON. — […] I would like to remark that we did not tip anything over at al, contrary to what Mme Meley says.” [3, p. 52]).
Collignon remained in the apartment for a certain length of time, and organised the surveillance in shifts. But nobody came by. Mme Meley was not even arrested (Edf, p. 68).
R. Collignon is also alleged to have simply told her: “I am not a policeman, but a hunter, who, when he sees game, kills it”, which Collignon denied (3, p. 53).
The occupant sought to arrest Mr. Viard, affiliated with the PTT network. But he had also fled, leaving only his wife. On 28 June, two agents came to his house and passed themselves off as Resistance members wishing to know where he was.
Mme Viard maintained a cautious silence. “Then they gave her a telephone numbers [...] and asked her to let them know when her husband came back. Mme Viard promised, but did nothing, and never saw these two individuals again”.
Later, she recognized one of them as Sébastien Solina, agent of the “Georgia gestapo” (Edf, p. 69). At the hearing, Mme Viard confirmed this version of the facts (8, p. 103). The defendant Solina did the same: “Mme Viard simply said that her husband was absent. We said: “Would you tell your husband to telephone Mr. Totor”. We didn’t even search the house, although we could have gone into all the rooms and performed checks if we had wished” (F Res 334/82/3, p. 59-60.).
II) Lyon cases (February 1944)
II.1) Search of Jean-Marie Buffet’s garage
The Gestapo searched the garage of a certain Mr. Buffet. Mr. Buffet sheltered Resistance vehicles in his garage. (Edf, p. 82...).
At the trial he declared:
“I belonged to the Resistance since 1942. I was working for the account of the MURL — Mouvements Unifiés de la Région Lyonnaise —. My garage was a port of call for the MURL of Haute-Savoie, all the Resistance groups in Haute-Savoie. What’s more, I had to guarantee the liaison between Colonel Roussard and his agents in the region of Lyon. Colonel Roussard was at Geneva. I had the mail at the garage.
“In 1943, I met Commandant Georges, who asked me to make my garage available for a transport warehouse.” (8, p. 60).
II.2) Interrogations at the Vaize machinery warehouse
During the trial, the principal defendant, Oberchmuckler, was charged with having “interrogated the warehouse personnel very severely” (p. 84). But he did so because there had been an assassination attempt:
- “The Resistance came to blow up the machines, over the course of 1943”, deposition of Marcel RENNI, [8, p. 147];
- “Eighteen locomotives had been blown up”, deposition of Oberchmuckler, [3, p. 78].
Despite the leaks, no advance warning had been received of these bombings, hence the danger of renewed acts of sabotage.
II.3) Searches at the Bertret Garage
This was a garage which “occupied itself with disguising Resistance automobiles at Lyon” (p. 85). Ten arrests were made.
III) Pau case
The Gestapo had to show up at the end of 1943 to dismantle the Resistance networks:
“Main had already prepared the terrain and sounded out the Resistance members to be arrested, to whom he was to present his acolytes as resistance members wishing to ‘camouflage’ themselves in the local Resistance. The appointment was made for 3 October in the evening, at the Café du Trèfle, at Pau. The whole team, except for Odicharia, struck up acquaintances with the 6 or 7 Resistance members present.
“At 21 h, Odicharia arrived with the SD, shouting ‘German police’... His acolytes, including Collignon, drew their guns and proceeded to make arrests. The prisoners were taken to the headquarters of the SD, at Pau, interrogated and brutalized. Collignon was assigned to guarding them. The next day, however his comrades continued the inquiry” (p. 96).
At the hearing, Collignon denied that there had been any “brutalities”:
“But “brutalities”, that’s a bit much. What I mean is that I saw people [come back] who were a bit disheveled, like.” (4, p. 103).
Excerpt from Vincent Reynouard Gestapo Articles
Introduction to Gestapo Articles
Post-War French Gestapo Trials