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Marcel Marceau, perhaps the world’s most famous mime, was a Jewish member of the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation of France. His own father had perished in Auschwitz. He used his skills as a mime to help keep children quiet while the Resistance smuggled them to safety.

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Robert Clary who survived two Nazi concentration camps ( Ottmuth and Buchenwald ) and tattooed with the identification "A5714" on his left forearm. We know him as Corporal Louis LeBeau, the sparky French resistence fighter inside a Nazi prison camp on "Hogans Heros". He is now 91 years old.

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In my opinion, it is useful to put together a list of the most interesting details from trusted sources that I've come across answering what did the french resistance do. Here are 50 of the best facts about French Resistance Maquis and French Resistance Books I managed to collect.

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  1. Sessue Hayakawa, a Japanese actor who started in the silent era and became one of the first Hollywood sex symbols. He also created his own production company to fight Asian stereotypes, was nominated for an Oscar, became part of the French resistance in WWII and was a Zen master

  2. There is a hotel that sits right on the border of Switzerland and France. A set of stairs started in France and ended in Switzerland upstairs. The upper rooms were thus ideal as a hideout for French Resistance members during WWII as the Nazis weren't allowed to cross into the Swiss side.

  3. Napoleon IV wanted to fight against Nazis but he was in exile and banned from France. He then joined the Foreign Legion with a false name and when France capitulated, he joined the French Resistance.

  4. The famous mime Marcel Marceau was part of the French Resistance to the Nazi occupation during World War II. He saved hundreds of Jewish children in hiding by teaching them to communicate in mime, so they could converse silently. Marceau eventually got them to safety to Switzerland.

  5. A pilot named William Overstreet flew his P-51 between the legs of the Eiffel Tower in pursuit of a German fighter, shooting down the plane and raising morale of French resistance fighters.

  6. Nancy Wake was a secret agent during WWII. In 1944, she led 7000 guerrillas to defeat 22000 German soldiers, killing 1400 Germans and only losing 100 men. They accounted for 70% of the Germans killed by the French resistance, yet their fatalities made up only 1% of the French resistance deaths.

  7. After the Spanish Civil war, many Republicans fled to exile in France. During WW2 more than 60,000 Spanish Republicans, experienced in guerrilla warfare, joined the French Resistance and Free French Forces. The first allied division to enter Paris was almost entirely Spanish.

  8. Public urinals or "Pissoirs" were used by the French Resistance during World War II as places to meet for a private conversation or to leave a message for someone without the Nazi’s finding out.

  9. Because D-Day's secrecy and decoy measures were so well planned, it took Germany's 2nd Waffen SS Division forces two weeks, instead of two days, to reach the front. Spies and French Resistance also helped to delay German forces.

  10. In 1944, USAAF pilot William Overstreet Jr. flew his P-51 under the Eiffel Tower in Paris in pursuit of a German plane, downing it while boosting morale for the French resistance.

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Charles De Gaulle refused to allow any British participation in the victory parade in Paris, A number of French troops retuned their medals in protest after De Gaulle made even the British nurses and collaborators of the Free French resistance go back to Britain

A new knee ligament was identified in 2013, 134 years after a French doctor noticed a "pearly, resistant, fibrous band" during a dissection. - source

A member of the French Resistance died after eating C4 explosives, believing them to be a form of cheese. - source

René Carmille, a computer expert and resistance double agent in Vichy France, who sabotaged the punch card system used by the Nazis to locate French Jews. He is considered by many to be the first hacker.

French athlete Georges Loinger was a WWII resistance fighter who was captured by the Nazis, then escaped the camp, then saved hundreds of Jewish children using a simple game of catch across the Swiss border. He is still alive at age 107. - source

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Actress Josephine Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, worked as a spy for the French resistance, adopted 12 children from all over the world, and was offered her unofficial leadership of Civil Rights Movement after MLK’s assassination.

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During World War II Albert Camus joined the French Resistance, in the cell called Combat. They published a newspaper called Combat, and Albert Camus was known as Beauchard in the group. Albert became the editor in 1943, and quit in 1947 when the paper became commercial.

About Virgina Hall. An American that posed as a newspaper reporter, enlisting civilians for the French Resistance and establishing an underground network of allies and becoming one of the most important spies during World War II.

About the battle of Camarón where 65 french foreign legionnaires resisted during an 9 hours siege against more than 3000 mexicans. Without water, food nor ammunitions, the last 5 survivors eventually mounted a bayonnet charge against the attacking forces.

In German occupied Paris, French resistance fighters cut the Eiffel Tower’s elevator cables, so that the Nazis had to climb the stairs.

The French Resistance in WW2 published newspapers at night from friendly printing presses. Resistance members risked authorities noticing that an underground newspaper had the same typeface as officially permitted documents. Despite the risk, by 1942 300,000 copies were printed per issue.

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Ernest Hemingway, while serving as a war correspondent during WWII, was accused of war crimes under the Geneva Convention after leading a French Resistance platoon on a mission. He was cleared, and for the rest of his life maintained that he was working as an advisor.

Nancy Wake was a Journalist who was a leading member of the French resistance during WWII, and became one of the Gestapos most wanted.

Harold Cole who is described as “the worst traitor of the war” during WW2. As a British soldier, He was captured by the Germans before joining the French resistance. After being caught stealing from them, he helped the Germans capture 150 resistance members, and was present at the arrests.

There was an "indian legion" serving Hitler during WWII. Originally created to help India gain independance from United Kingdom, they were made from POW and fought in Europe against the allies and french resistants.

The US developed top-secret poo sprays for the French resistance, hoping to humiliate and demoralize Nazis stationing there by spraying them.

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Jacques Cousteau was awarded the Legion of Honor and several other medals from France for his efforts in the French Resistance during World War II.

"canne de combat", competitive cane fighting. It was nearly forgotten because of the high French deathtoll in WWI, but survived and was used by the resistance to assassinate Nazis.

Missak Manouchian, Armenian Genocide survivor aided the French Resistance and is considered a hero of France today.

The last pre-revolutionary Prime Minister of Iran, Shapour Bakhtiar, had fought with the Spanish Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, and the French Army and Resistance in WW2

At age 21, Chuck Yeager was shot down over German-occupied France. He was wounded and then rescued by the French Resistance. After being smuggled into Spain and briefly imprisoned, he made his way back to England...7 months later he shot down 5 Nazi fighter planes in succession.

During WWII, a French royal castle was cut in half because the demarcation line between free and occupied French territory was based on the River Cher that goes through the building. The Resistance even used the first floor gallery to smuggle individuals into the free zone.

In the early days of World War 2, French units actually invaded and briefly occupied areas of western Germany, meeting little resistance.

About Violette Morris - an openly bisexual, incredibly gifted French athlete turned Nazi Spy. She was an Olympic gold medallist, Bol de'Or motorbike endurance race winner, and was the French national boxing champion. She was shot in 1944 as a traitor to France by the Resistance.

During Operation Loyton a Member of the French Resistance died eating plastic explosives he had mistaken for cheese.

Samuel Beckett, author of Waiting for Godot, was part of the French Resistance in WWII.

In the War of 1812 a messenger of an invading American army demanded Quebec not resist against their 'liberators'. His message was so offensive that the messenger was shot by the French Canadian commander without a word.

The US developed a Top Secret sulfurous Stink Bomb for the French Resistance to use against German Officers. It was a total failure with the sprayer more often than not ending up as affected as the target and was considered a total failure after just two weeks.

France, or rather a french Duke, successfully invaded and conquered England. The abundance of castles in England was the conqueror and his allies' way of controlling their newly acquired lands amidst revolts and resistance.

Two enemies, France's Charles De Gaulle and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh, were godfathers of two different children in the Aubrac family (who are also considered French heros of the WWII resistance movement)

This is our collection of basic interesting facts about French Resistance. The fact lists are intended for research in school, for college students or just to feed your brain with new realities. Possible use cases are in quizzes, differences, riddles, homework facts legend, cover facts, and many more. Whatever your case, learn the truth of the matter why is French Resistance so important!

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