France says goodbye to resistance hero Hubert Germain on Armistice day


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Hubert Germain, the last surviving member of the Order of the Liberation who died last month, will be buried with a Cross of Lorraine, a symbol of the Resistance, carved in the wood of Notre-Dame Cathedral as France commemorates the Day of the Armistice.

“Would we be here without Hubert Germain?” French President Emmanuel Macron asked, citing the names of several of the 1,038 members of the Order of the Liberation who “followed General de Gaulle on this daring adventure” in 1940.

“Hubert Germain will join his brothers in arms and with them all those who rose up for France to live,” he added in a speech delivered under the Arc de Triomphe during the commemoration ceremony of the Armistice of November 11, 1918, which marked the end of the First World War.

Hubert Germain, who was the last survivor of the resistant honored by the late leader of Free France Charles de Gaulle, died at the age of 101 in October.

His coffin draped with the French flag was transported on the Champs-Elysées in an armored vehicle to the Arc de Triomphe, where Macron and US Vice-President Kamala Harris paid tribute.

The coffin draped with the flag of Hubert Germain – the last surviving companion of the Liberation – is escorted to the avenue des Champs Elysées during a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 11, 2021. © AFP / François Mori

Germain, the son of a general in the French colonial army, was in his late teens when he fled to Britain after the surrender of France where he joined de Gaulle who was organizing the resistance to the German occupation.

He then fought in key battles at Bir-Hakeim in Libya, El Alamein in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the 1944 invasion of German-occupied France that liberated the country.

Hubert Germain, hero of the French Resistance, photographed in November 2020 in Paris.
Hubert Germain, hero of the French Resistance, photographed in November 2020 in Paris. © AFP / Michel Euler

The Paris-born fighter was one of 1,038 people decorated with the Order of the Liberation for their heroism by de Gaulle, who would go on to become President of France and is the founder of the current constitution.

Buried in the Mont-Valérien memorial

Germain, who became a deputy and minister, will be buried later Thursday in a special crypt reserved for resistance fighters at Mont Valérien, a former fortress west of Paris where German troops executed opponents.

In June 1960, when he inaugurated the Mont Valérien memorial in Suresnes (near Paris), Charles de Gaulle had expressed the wish that the vault n ° 9 of the crypt be reserved for the last member of the Order of the Liberation, which he had created to “reward people or communities soldiers and civilians who distinguished themselves in the work of liberation of France and its empire “.

Macron will place on his coffin a Cross of Lorraine, symbol of the Resistance, made of wood from Notre-Dame Cathedral on his coffin, in accordance with Germain’s wishes.

(with the press wires)


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