Jewish memories of resistance in France

Joan and Freddie remember the work of the resistance in France

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Joan's father was able to escape the camp with the help of the resistance and the actions of a camp guard



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Joan describes her family’s escape from France to Spain



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Freddie describes his experiences around the mountains near Figeac in the South West of France

The resistance within France

Throughout the war, the Maquis, a French resistance movement was active against the Nazis and the Vichy Government. The Maquis’ leader, Moulin, was the representative of General Charles de Gaulle.

Some Jews also took part in the activities of the French Resistance, whilst many others joined Jewish resistance organizations, such as the Armee Juive. Some Jewish resistence organisations hid Jews, especially Jewish children, whilst others sought to enable their escape from France.

Some Jews tried to escape southward to Spain or eastward to Switzerland. However, the journey to those countries was extremely dangerous, and very few Jews made it successfully.

Survivor video memories

Watch Joan and Freddie's video interviews to learn more about the work of the resistance.

Video one

Firstly, Joan talks about her father being sent to an internment camp in France. She recalls how he was picked on by some of the other prisoners, but also tells us that other inmates and guards helped and supported him.

Video two

In her second video Joan explains that she and her family had been hiding in Nazi occupied France for some time. Eventually they travelled southwards until they were near to the Spanish boarder.

After the resistance had helped Joan's father escape from an internment camp he set about helping his family to escape from France to unoccupied Spain.

Video three

In his interview Freddie, an Austrian Jew who escaped to Belgium and then France, describes how, in 1943, he joined the resistance. 

As you watch the videos, reflect on the heroic activities of the resistance in helping Jewish refugees and French Jews escape the German and Vichy authorities.

Please note that the lead in may take a few moments to allow the video to begin.