Guy Môquet, a Parisian, was 16 when the Germans invaded France. He became committed to the Resistance, distributing leaflets, but was arrested in 1941. He was tried and acquitted but, as a Communist, he was held as a political detainee.
When a German officer was killed by three Communists in Nantes, Hitler ordered the execution of 50 prisoners in retaliation. The Vichy government supplied the names and Môquet was the youngest.On October 21, 1941, the night before he was shot, he wrote home to "my dearest mother, my adored little brother, my beloved father", asking them to be brave. "I am going to die," he started, adding: "17 and a half years, my life has been short, I have no regret except for leaving you all.
Guy Môquet – the Courageous Struggle
To justify this, Nicolas Sarkozy said "I believe it is essential to explain what it is to be young and French" ... "Let us be proud of France in whose name they died", he declared to the young generation, invoking the memory of the young resistance fighters "for whom France counted more that politics or religion".
Three great resistance fighters, Serge Ravanel, Danial Cordier and Raymond Aubrac, while pointing out their distance from Nicolas Sarkozy, are supporting this initiative, hoping that the trajectory of the young resistance fighter will be explained by teachers.
The historian continues: "This discourse on collective memory is also aimed at building a consensus that disregards social conflicts and the struggle for power." The political stuggle to which Guy Môquet was committed recurs, in fact, thoughout the president’s speeches; Sarkozy exalts only the "pride of France" which guided, according to him, the young resistance fighter. End of the story - no mention of the anti-fascist struggle, internationalism, the ideal of human emancipation, the fight for equality and for democracy that motivated him.
Yet, it was the French police, looking for underground communist activists, who, on 13 October 1940, arrested Guy Môquet at the Gare de l’Est metro station. They then tortured him to try and obtain the names of the comrades of his father, Prosper Môquet, member of the National Assembly representing the 17th arrondissement in Paris – who was arrested a year later, stripped of his mandate and deported to Algeria.
Two days later, in the Salière quarry, just outside the Châteaubriant camp, 27 resistance fighters were assassinated, among them Guy Môquet. Those whom the Vichy government representatives considered "bad French" fell under the bullets, crying out "Vive la France!" - A France they could only dream about, like the ’foreigners’ of the Affiche rouge(2), who had shed themselves of all the poison of fear and hatred of the Other.
Alas, I wasn't actually able to embrace my real brother. I hope all my things are sent back to you, they will be of some use to Serge, who I trust will be proud to wear them one day. Dearest Dad, although I've given you and Mom lots of troubles, I send you one last greeting. I hope you know that I have done my best to follow in your footsteps.