France inducts Resistance hero Manouchian into Panthéon

Feb 21 2024

French President Emmanuel Macron led a ceremony Wednesday honouring Missak Manouchian, a stateless poet of Armenian origin who died fighting the Nazi occupation during World War II. Manouchian becomes the first foreign Resistance fighter to enter France's Panthéon mausoleum for national heroes.

The belated honour to Missak Manouchian has been seen as long overdue recognition of the bravery of foreign communists – many Jewish – who fought the Nazis alongside French Resistants.

"Jewish, Hungarian, Polish, Armenians, communists, they gave their lives for our country," President Emmanuel Macron said this weekend.

"It's a way of ensuring all forms of internal Resistance enter (the Panthéon), including some too long forgotten," he told communist newspaper L'Humanite.

The bodies of Manouchian and his wife Mélinée, also a member of the Resistance, will be transferred from the Parisian cemetery where they were buried together to the Panthéon.

The names of 23 of his communist comrades-in-arms – including Polish, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish and Romanian fighters – will be added to a commemorative plaque inside the monument.

Baker – the first black woman to receive the honour – had been awarded French nationality before the war.

Last year the president said Manouchian would receive the honour too, paying tribute to his "bravery" and "quiet heroism".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)