The tragic but inspiring story of Resistance fighter France Bloch-Sérazin

By Claude Grimal (En Attendant Nadeau)

A book just published in France recounts the little-known story of France Bloch-Sérazin, a member of the Resistance movement in Paris who was arrested in 1942 and executed in Germany by decapitation just one week before her 30th birthday. Historian Alain Quella-Villéger’s meticulously researched biography is not only a moving account of an exceptional individual of outstanding courage, writes Claude Grimal, but also a homage to the engagement and heroism of women during the dark days of the German occupation of France. 

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At number 1 avenue Debidour, an apartment building on a small, residential street in north-east Paris, a plaque is affixed to the whitewashed façade. The inscription in French reads: “As of 1940, in this building, France Bloch-Sérazin had set up a laboratory where she prepared explosives for the Resistance. Arrested on May 16th 1942, sentenced to death, transferred to Germany, she was decapitated on February 12th 1943 in Hamburg.”