Pierre Brossolette

Pierre Brossolette

Pierre Brossolette was born in France on 25th June, 1903. He held left-wing political views and in 1929 he joined the French Socialist Party. Brossolette also worked as a journalist for Notre Temps, L'Europe Nouvelle, and La Populaire. He was also employed by Radio-PTT but was sacked after he criticized the signing of the Munich Agreement on a live radio programme.

On the outbreak of the Second World War Brossolette joined the French Army and had risen to the rank of captain by the time Henri-Philippe Petain had signed an armistice with Germany.

Brossolette refused to accept the surrender and joined the Comité d'Action Socialiste, an organization founded by Daniel Mayer in March, 1941. As a cover he established a bookshop with his wife in Paris. In April 1942 he went as a representative of the resistance movement to meet General Charles De Gaulle in London. While in England Brossolette worked closely with the Special Operations Executive.

He was parachuted back into France in the summer of 1942. Soon afterwards he entered talks with Jean Moulin about the possibility of uniting all the resistance groups working in France. After much discussion Moulin persuaded the eight major resistance groups to form the Conseil National de la Resistance (CNR). This included Brossolette's Comité d'Action Socialiste as well as Combat (Henry Frenay), Liberation (Emmanuel d'Astier), Front National (Pierre Villon), Jean-Pierre Lévy (Francs-Tireur) and Armée Secrete (Charles Delestraint).

On 7th June 1943, René Hardy, an important member of the resistance in France, was arrested and tortured by Klaus Barbie and the Gestapo. They eventually obtained enough information to arrest Brossolette, Jean Moulin and Charles Delestraint.

This was a terrible blow to the French Resistance and Edward Yeo-Thomas of the Special Operations Executive was sent into France in an attempt to rescue these men. This ended in failure and Yeo-Thomas was himself arrested by the French police.

Pierre Brossolette was tortured by the Gestapo. Afraid that he would reveal the names of his comrades he committed suicide by throwing himself out of the fifth floor of Rennes Prison on 22nd March, 1944.