"Jews, Hungarians, Poles, Armenians, communists - they gave their lives for our country"

2024. Február 26. / 10:27

"Jews, Hungarians, Poles, Armenians, communists - they gave their lives for our country"

On the eightieth anniversary of their execution, for the first time foreigners were symbolically reburied to the final resting place of the greats of French history, in the Panthénon in Paris. Among them are three fighters of Hungarian Jewish origin: Imre Békés Glasz, József Boczor and Tamás Elek.

Members of the partisan group led by the Armenian-born poet and journalist Missak Manouchian, who died as a martyr to the French resistance during World War II, including three Hungarians, were reburied on Wednesday at the final resting place of the greats of French history, in the Panthénon in Paris, exactly on the eightieth anniversary of their execution. This was the first instance that foreigners were interred at this symbolic location of France. 

"Foreigners, and yet our brothers," President Emmanuel Macron said at the tribute, quoting the poet Louis Aragon, after listing the names of the members of the 23-member resistance group, "who have been forgotten for too long."

"They are French by choice, they are French by hope," added the president in his speech before the approximately 2,000 guests, including Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

"Jews, Hungarians, Poles, Armenians, communists - they gave their lives for our country," emphasized Emmanuel Macron in an interview published in the communist daily L'Humanité on Wednesday.

With them, "the entire communist and foreign resistance" enters the nation's temple of great figures, joining Jean Moulin and the resistance led by General Charles de Gaulle, who have been regularly commemorated in France since the 1960s.

The 23-member resistance group made up of foreigners, including three Hungarians (Tamás Elek, Imre Békés Glasz and József Boczor) belonged to the French Communist Party: operating illegally, they carried out actions against the Nazis in the Paris area.

In 1943, they were pretty much the only resistance around the French capital, so the Gestapo deployed more and more forces to capture them, and the manhunt launched against them was finally successful.

The famous "red poster" is associated with the international brigade, which, according to the Germans' intention, was meant to show the French that the people participating in the resistance were all communists, foreigners, and Jews, an "army of criminals".

The members of the partisan group captured in 1944 were photographed, and their faces and names, along with the news of their execution in the Valérien mountain fortress near Paris on February 21, were displayed on a red poster on the streets of towns and villages throughout the country.

The body of Missak Manouchian, who emigrated to France as a survivor of the Armenian genocide, has been permanently transferred to the Panthéon. The other members of the partisan group have been symbolically entered into the Panthéon, with their names and life path indicated on a plaque. (MTI)

Imre Békés Glasz was born in Budapest in 1902 as Imre Glas in a Jewish family. He became a locksmith at the age of fifteen, and after completing his training he found a job at the Csonka Machinery Factory. He was a member of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, then joined the Communist Party. His wife - seamstress Ilona Weisz - was also a communist activist. In the 1930s, Imré Glasz Békés was sentenced to prison several times for subverting the state and social order. After his release, he emigrated to France in 1937, where he joined the French army and fought against the Germans. In 1943, he was captured by the Gestapo, subjected to torture for months, and then executed in February 1944.

József Boczor was born in 1906 as Ferenc Wolf in the Transylvanian settlement of Batiz, today in Romania. He began his chemical engineering studies at the Charles University in Prague in 1923, at which time he joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. In 1927, he already organized the communist youth in Timișoara. He also took part in the activities of the United National Professional Association. The authorities persecuted him for his activities, he was also convicted as a military deserter, and he spent a year and a half in prison. He fought in the Spanish Civil War, joined the French Communist Party in 1941 and joined the French resistance. He was captured by the Germans in 1943 and executed in February 1944.

Elek Tamás was born in Budapest in 1924 in a Jewish bourgeois family and emigrated to France with his parents in 1930. At the age of 16, he dropped out of high school to join the French Resistance. In 1943, he attacked Germans with hand grenades several times, in the summer of 1943 he threw grenades among the members of a group of 70 Germans in Paris. He participated in the derailment of several German railway trains, hundreds of German soldiers lost their lives as a result of the derailment on the Paris-Château-Thierry line. He was arrested by the Germans at the end of 1943, tortured and executed in February 1944.

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