Friday, February 10, 2012

How Raymond Aubrac and a Dozen Other Prisoners Escaped a Gestapo Firing Squad

Raymond Aubrac tells the BBC's Hugh Schofield how he met with Jean Moulin during World War II and tricked the Gestapo out of his execution.

How Lucie [Aubrac] and her Resistance group sprung [Raymond] Aubrac from the clutches of the Nazis is today one of France's best-known stories from the war - as uplifting for the French as the Caluire episode is grim.

Somehow Lucie managed to persuade the German commander that she was a) pregnant by the prisoner Aubrac (this was actually true) and b) unmarried to him.

By feigning horror at the prospect of the child being born out of wedlock, she got the commander to agree to a pre-execution marriage.

And so on 21 October, the convoy taking Aubrac back to Montluc jail from his "marriage" ceremony at police headquarters was attacked by a heavily-armed Resistance gang. Three Germans were killed and 14 prisoners escaped.

"One of the Resistance cars overtook the truck in which I was being transported, and when the two vehicles were level they shot the German driver," recalls Aubrac, who received a ricochet bullet in the side of the face.