During World War II a young man called Rino Della Negra played for the prestigious Red Star football club from Saint-Ouen in the northern suburbs of Paris. But as well as playing top-level football he was also secretly a member of a French Resistance group. Della Negra was executed on February 21st 1944 by the Nazis at the age of just 20, but later became an icon of the club's grassroots fans. Now two historians have charted the life of this young working class footballer. As Mickaël Correia reports, Della Negra was also the the son of Italian immigrants and his story makes a mockery of the hazy notion of “national identity” so beloved by the far-right today.
Serge Klarsfeld, 83, and his German-born wife Beate, 79, who became high-profile hunters of Nazi war criminals, notably tracking down the notorious former Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie, known as the 'Butcher of Lyon', in Bolivia, but also members of France’s collaborationist Vichy regime, have been awarded France’s highest awards for civil merit.
Maurice Garçon was a celebrated lawyer, essayist, novelist, gifted amateur artist and historian who was ultimately elected to the illustrious Académie Française. But Garçon also kept a diary during World War II, including France's Occupation by the Nazis. This recently-published journal reveals an apolitical, solitary, contradictory man who loathed Hitler and the collaborationist Vichy regime in France, but who also disdained Charles de Gaulle and who remained fiercely independent in his views throughout the duration of the conflict. Here Mediapart's Antoine Perraud examines the revealing insights of this eccentric but perceptive character into how French society coped with one of the bleakest episodes in the country's history.