By Oisin Sweeney • 20 November 2020 • 21:35
French Resistance hero dies aged 100, bringing the number of living veterans of France’s underground war against Nazis to just one.
France has lost one of its two remaining heroes of the anti-Nazi Resistance, Daniel Cordier, who passed away aged 100.
Cordier was one of the 1038 Compagnons de la Liberation, an honour awarded by exiled President Charles de Gaulle during World War 2 to those who risked their lives in waging an undercover war against German occupation. He served as the right-hand man to the Resistance’s leader, Jean Moulin, who was tortured to death by the Gestapo in 1943.
Born into a wealthy Bordeaux family, admits to having been a member of the Royalist and anti-Semitic Action Francaise as a young man before the war. Upon hearing Marshal Phillippe Petain’s radio call for the French to surrender in 1940, he and his friends traveled to London where they were given military training by the British army.
In 1942 he was parachuted into France where he became secretary to the legendary leader Jean Moulin in Lyon. In 1944 he fled to the Pyrenees near the Spanish border, but was captured and interned before being transferred to the UK.
After the war he ran an art gallery in Paris, acclaimed for its promotion of new artists. At the time of his death he lived in sunny Cannes, where he told Le Monde in 2018 that he was ‘an old but very, very happy old man’ who had lived not one life but ‘successive lives that were so different from one another’.
He was bestowed the Legion d’Honneur by President Macron,n France’s highest award. Macron said told him that ‘to be face to face with you is to find oneself immediately and compellingly face-to-face with history’. On the news of his death Macron said that France owed the Resistance fighters ‘our freedom and our honour’.
Cordier’s death leaves one remaining Resistance hero still alive, Hubert Germain, who is also 100 years old.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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