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July 23: The Death of a French Jewish Partisan

July 23, 2013

1881412694592309937Marcel Langer, a Polish-born Jewish communist from Palestine who fought in the Spanish Civil War and then headed an anti-Nazi partisan group in the Toulouse area of France, was guillotined by the Vichy government on this date in 1943. Langer’s group had participated in the destruction of railways, sabotage of electrical supplies, individual assassinations of German soldiers, and the destruction of barns and crops used to feed the Nazi enemy. He was caught with a suitcase of explosives passed to him by a young partisan woman, and stood up to torture without betraying his comrades. “You are Jewish, a foreigner, and a communist — three reasons for me to request your head,” declared the prosecutor, who would be assassinated three months later by members of Langer’s partisan group.

“Jews made up ninety percent of the First Detachment of the Communist FTP-MOI, and nearly 100 percent of the Second Detachment. Despite severe shortages of weapons, FTP-MOI attacks increased with time. In 1943, ever more daring and frequent attacks were made against the Germans, at the rate of 15 per month. These French Jewish partisan units executed hundreds of bombings and attacks on German strongholds and Naziofficials.” —Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation