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Yad Vashem This Month in Holocaust History
August 1944, A Jewish partisan in Southern France

August 1944

A Jewish partisan in Southern France

Founded in January 1942, the French Armee Juive (the Jewish Army) smuggled hundreds of Jews to Spain and Switzerland and launched attacks against the German army in both the northern and southern parts of France. Among its many activities, the Armee Juive attacked informants and Gestapo agents, as well as smuggling funds from Switzerland to the rescue organizations in France. Hundreds of Jews fell in the ranks of the Armee Juive in their activities against the Germans. The soldiers of Armee Juive participated in the general French uprising of August 1944, fighting in Paris, Lyon and Toulouse.

A representative council for French Jewry was established in 1944, intended as a coordinating body meant to organize the rebellious activities of the Jewish organizations. This was a joint effort of the leaders of the Jewish organizations, an attempt to rise above ideological boundaries in order to strengthen the activities on behalf of the Jewish community and contribute to the general French rebel movement.

In June 1944 the forces of the Western Allies invaded Normandy, liberating Paris by August. Nonetheless, the deportation trains bringing Jews from France to the death camps continued until the summer of 1944, with the last train of Jews leaving France three days before the fall of Paris.