Missak Manouchian, revolutionary leader of French Resistance against Nazis

Missak Manouchian, revolutionary leader of French Resistance against Nazis

“I joined the Army of Liberation as a voluntary soldier and I die within inches of victory and of the objective. Happiness to those who will survive us and enjoy the Freedom and Peace of tomorrow. I am sure that the French people and all those who fight for freedom will know how to honor our memory with dignity. At the moment of death I proclaim that I have no hatred for the German people and for whomsoever, everyone will have what he will deserve as punishment and as reward.”

Who he was

Missak Manouchian was a leader of the armed French resistance against the Nazis during World War II. He became the head of the FTP-MOI, a subgroup of the resistance mostly made up of immigrants from Hungary, Romania and Poland. Many of the group’s members were Jewish. 

Manouchian was born in Adiyaman in the Ottoman Empire in 1906 and was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. His parents had died during the massacres but he managed to escape with his brother and reach Marseille in France. An avowed communist, he became involved in the Communist Party in France while concurrently publishing an Armenian newspaper called Zangou.

Upon outbreak of World War II he was imprisoned and released, after which he joined the resistance to lead a group of fellow Armenians. The attacks and assassinations carried out by Manouchian and his fellow combatants increased his profile within the FTP-MOI, but also with the Nazis. He was listed on an infamous Nazi propaganda poster called "l’Affiche Rouge" ("the Red Poster"), where he was noted as the Armenian leader of the group. 

Manouchian was eventually captured by the Nazis and executed.

Interesting fact

Manouchian was a poet and was opposed to violence until he was arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis for being a communist. 

Learn more about him

New York Times: Army of Crime (Review)

100 Years, 100 Facts: Missak Manouchian