Lucie Aubrac

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Lucie Aubrac
Lucie Aubrac 2001.jpg
Lucie Aubrac in 2001
Lucie Bernard

29 June 1912
Macon, France
Died14 March 2007(2007-03-14) (aged 94)
Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, France
Occupationmember of French Resistance, history teacher
Spouse(s)Raymond Aubrac (1939–2007; her death)

Lucie Samuel (29 June 1912 – 14 March 2007), born Lucie Bernard, and better known as Lucie Aubrac (French pronunciation: [lysi obʁak] (About this soundlisten)), was a French history teacher and member of the French Resistance during World War II.[1]

In 1938 she earned an agrégation of history, and in 1939 she married Raymond Samuel, who became known as Raymond Aubrac.[2][3]

In 1940 she joined the French Resistance.[1] In Clermont-Ferrand, Emmanuel d'Astier de La Vigerie formed the Resistant group La Dernière Colonne, later known as Libération-sud, with her, her husband, and Jean Cavaillès. During 1941, the group carried out two sabotage attacks at train stations in Perpignan and Cannes. In February, they organised the distribution of 10,000 propaganda flyers, but one of the distributors was caught by the police, leading to the arrest of d'Astier's niece and uncle. The group decided to cease activities. After a few months' hiatus, they began to work on an underground newspaper, Libération. The first edition was put together with the help of the typographers from a local newspaper and printed on paper supplied by local trade-unionists. 10,000 copies were produced in July 1941.[4]

In March 1943 her husband was arrested, but he was released in May of that year, after she intervened with the local Vichy public prosecutor.[2] However, in June of that year he was arrested again.[2] Lucie then claimed to be his fiancée, saying he was named "Ermelin" (one of his aliases) and that he had been caught in the raid while innocently visiting a doctor.[2] She was told that he was to be executed for resistance, and asked to marry him; a French legal clause allowed engaged people to marry if one of them was soon to die.[2] Later, when he was being brought back to prison after the supposed marriage, he and fifteen other prisoners were rescued by resisters in cars, led by Lucie, who attacked the vehicle he was in.[2][5]

Ho Chi Minh, baby Elizabeth Aubrac and Lucie Aubrac, 1946

In 1944 Charles de Gaulle appointed a consultative assembly, which Lucie joined as a resistance representative; this made her the first woman to sit in a French parliamentary assembly.[2][6]

In 1945 she published the first short history of the French Resistance.[2]

In 1946 she and Raymond hosted Ho Chi Minh at their home in France, and he became friends with Raymond.[7] He had gone to France in an unsuccessful mission to win independence for the then-French colony of Vietnam.[7]

In 1984 she published a semi-fictional version of her wartime diaries, the English translation of which is known as Outwitting the Gestapo.[1] She was inspired to publish her own writing on the wartime after Klaus Barbie's claim that her husband Raymond had become an informer and betrayed Jean Moulin after his own arrest.[2]

The 1992 film Boulevard des hirondelles was about her and Raymond's life during the French Resistance.[8]

In 1996 Lucie was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for her heroism during World War II.[9]

The 1997 film Lucie Aubrac is about her efforts to rescue her husband; in it she is played by Carole Bouquet.[10] She herself endorsed the film.[10][11]

In April 1997, Jacques Vergès produced a "Barbie testament" which he claimed that Klaus Barbie had given him ten years earlier which purported to show the Aubracs had tipped off Barbie regarding Moulin.[12] Vergès's "Barbie testament" was timed for the publication of the book Aubrac Lyon 1943 by Gérard Chauvy, which was meant to prove that the Aubracs were the ones who informed Barbie about the fateful meeting at Caluire where Moulin was arrested in 1943.[13] On 2 April 1998 following a civil suit launched by the Aubracs, a Paris court fined Chauvy and his publisher Albin Michel for "public defamation".[14] In 1998, the French historian Jacques Baynac in his book Les Secrets de l'affaire Jean Moulin claimed that Moulin was planning to break with de Gaulle to recognize General Giraud, which led the Gaullists to tip off Barbie before this could happen.[15]

Twenty leading resistance survivors published a letter protesting the accusations against the Aubracs, and the Aubracs themselves asked to appear before a panel of leading French historians.[2] The Aubracs did appear in a discussion between themselves and historians, organized by the newspaper Libération.[2] While none of the historians involved believed that Raymond was an informer, they did note inconsistencies in Lucie's account of his case.[2]

Patrick Marnham's biography of Moulin, The Death of Jean Moulin: Biography of a Ghost (2001) suggests Raymond and possibly Lucie betrayed Moulin.[16] As well, in his book Resistance and Betrayal: The Death and Life of the Greatest Hero of the French Resistance (2002), Patrick Marnham suggested that since Raymond Aubrac's overriding allegiance was to communism, he would not have considered himself a traitor if he had indeed betrayed Moulin, claiming that French Communists such as the Aubracs at times gave non-Communists such as Moulin to the Gestapo.[17][5][18]

Lucie had three children with Raymond.[5] Charles de Gaulle was godfather to their first child, Catherine, and Ho Chi Minh was godfather to their second child, Elizabeth.[5][7]

President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a statement after Raymond's death in 2012, said that Raymond's escape from the Nazis led by Lucie in 1943 had "become a legend in the history of the Resistance" and praised him and all Resistance members as "heroes of the shadows who saved France's honor, at a time when it seemed lost."[7] Serge Klarsfeld, the president of the Sons and Daughters of Jewish Deportees from France, said to BFM-TV, "They (Raymond and Lucie Aubrac) were a legendary couple," adding, "They were exceptional people."[19] François Hollande said in a statement, "In our darkest times, he [Raymond] was, with Lucie Aubrac, among the righteous, who found, in themselves and in the universal values of our Republic, the strength to resist Nazi barbarism."[20]

Lucie's ashes are beside Raymond's in the family tomb of the cemetery in the Burgundian village of Salornay-sur-Guye.[21]


  1. ^ a b c By DOUGLAS MARTINMARCH 18, 2007 (18 March 2007). "Lucie Aubrac, Hero of French Resistance, Dies at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Julian Jackson. "Obituary: Lucie Aubrac | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  3. ^ Jackon, Julian (5 April 2012). "Guardian Obituary". The Guardian. London.
  4. ^ Wieviorka, Olivier (2013). Histoire de la Résistance 1940-1945 (Kindle ed.). Paris: Perrin. p. loc 1262–1278.
  5. ^ a b c d "Raymond Aubrac: French Resistance leader whose wife daringly freed him from captivity". The Independent. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  6. ^ C. Lloyd (16 September 2003). Collaboration and Resistance in Occupied France: Representing Treason and Sacrifice. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 136–. ISBN 978-0-230-50392-2.
  7. ^ a b c d "French Resistance figure Raymond Aubrac dead at 97". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  8. ^ Keren Chiaroni (8 December 2016). Resistance Heroism and the End of Empire: The Life and Times of Madeleine Riffaud. Taylor & Francis. pp. 77–. ISBN 978-1-315-39609-5.
  9. ^ "Lucie Aubrac: A Resistance Hero | Voices Education Project". Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  10. ^ a b Elley, Derek. "Lucie Aubrac – Variety". Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  11. ^ By DOUGLAS MARTINAPRIL 11, 2012 (11 April 2012). "Raymond Aubrac, a Leader of the French Resistance, Dies at 97 - The New York Times". Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  12. ^ Clinton, Alan Jean Moulin, 1899–1943 The French Resistance and the Republic, London: Macmillan 2002 page 209.
  13. ^ Clinton, Alan Jean Moulin, 1899–1943 The French Resistance and the Republic, London: Macmillan 2002
  14. ^ Clinton, Alan Jean Moulin, 1899–1943 The French Resistance and the Republic, London: Macmillan 2002 pages 209–210.
  15. ^ Clinton, Alan Jean Moulin, 1899–1943 The French Resistance and the Republic, London: Macmillan 2002 page 210.
  16. ^ Marnham, Patrick. The Death of Jean Moulin: Biography of a Ghost. Pimlico. ISBN 978-0-7126-6584-1.
  17. ^ "Raymond Aubrac". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 April 2012.
  18. ^ "Raymond Aubrac". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  19. ^[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ JTA (12 April 2012). "French reisistance fighter Raymond Aubrac dies — Jewish Journal". Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  21. ^ "Hommage républicain au résistant Raymond Aubrac, "flambeau de la justice et de l'espérance"". AFP.

Further reading[edit]

  • Lucie Aubrac: The French Resistance Heroine who Defied the Gestapo, Sian Rees, Michael O'Mara Books, 2015
  • "Lucie Aubrac, une conscience s'est éteinte" (in French). Libération. 16 March 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2007.
  • Laurent Douzou: Lucie Aubrac, Paris 2009, ISBN 978-2-262-02746-9.
  • Christiane Goldenstedt: Lucie Aubrac - The Théroigne de Méricourt of the French Resistance, Spiral of time 7/2010, Journal of the House of Women's History Bonn.