heroic city at the peak of the French resistance and combat
for the Liberation. A proud city that fought fiercely and
constantly against the Germans, in spite of days of mourning
and suffering, in spite of the arrest and massacre of its
outstanding people. Braving the obstacles imposed by the invaders
and their accomplices, Grenoble expressed, on November 11th
of 1943, its conviction of a sure victory and its intent to
participate in it. On the 13th, 14th and 16th of November
of 1943, the city responded to German retaliation and to the
execution of the heads of the Resistance Movements by destroying
the explosions factory, the barracks, transformers and other
factories used by the enemy… for our country".
(Grenoble, named Companion of
the Liberation by decree, on May 4th, 1944).
in an area that had not been occupied, the city of Grenoble, after
the armistice of June 1940, was a place where great resistance movements
began, as more and more of its citizens joined the effort. These
great movements included the "Combat" movement (born of
the merger of the "Vérités" (Truths) movement led by Marie
Reynoard, a teacher at Lycée Stendahl (a high school), and "Franc-Tireur"
(led in Grenoble by Doctor Martin, Eugène Chavant, Aimé
Pupin and Jean Perrot).
soon, in the spring of 1941, the Front National took shape as did
clandestine newspapers, such as "Les Allobroges". At the
same time, a small faction of the armistice army secretly prepared
to continue fighting, hiding equipment and tons of ammunition in
the ammunition store of the Polygone. The University of Grenoble
and its professors provided constant support to the Resistance movement,
and towards the end of 1942, several of its departments began producing
false documentation for young people – giving them the identity
of students – to prevent them from being assigned to forced
the end of 1942, and encouraged by the local "Franc-Tireur"
movement, a group of maquis (Resistance fighters) formed in the
nearby Vercors region, thanks mainly to the arrival of people who
refused to be sent to forced labor. This group became an important
symbol of the Resistance.
November of 1942, the city was occupied by the Italians and a year
later by the Germans. This is when the true occupation began. The
basic activities of the Resistance were at this time training and
providing weapons for forced labor evaders. Little by little they
joined the maquis that were organizing in the woods and mountains
surrounding Grenoble. Gradually, the irregular groups took action,
destroying power lines and transformers, stealing the local forced
labor files, destroying the Fort des Quatre Seigneurs and stealing
large amounts of stockpiled explosives.
the same time, on November 11th, 1943, the anniversary of the armistice
of 1918, - in spite of orders given by the government of Vichy –
an almost general strike and a protest in front of the local collaboration
offices were organized. In retaliation for these acts, 500 patriots
were deported. In response to this, on November 13th, the Francs-Tireurs
blew up the artillery stored at the Polygone, which was a powerful
psychological shock for the enemy and for the local population.
Responding to each attack, the invader intensified
the repression by arresting and assassinating many Resistance workers.
But on December 2nd, 1943, the Resistance fighters blew up the Bonne
barracks, which the Germans used as their new arsenal, and the industrial
and railway sabotage became more intense.
The Bonne barracks destroyed
May 4th, 1944, General De
the decree that would grant the Cross of the Liberation to Grenoble.
Normandy landing was also the time for Resistance fighters in the
Grenoble area to reach the height of their combat, with numerous
attacks that considerably hampered the activity of the German troops,
blocking all the main roads around Grenoble.
On August 15th, 1944, the landing in Provence
forced the Germans to abandon the city by August 18th. However,
they did not leave without having first massacred several prisoners
at the Polygone where the gruesome scene left behind by the Gestapo
was found the day after the liberation. Once Grenoble was freed,
840 people had been shot, more than 2,000 men killed in combat,
as many disappeared and 1,150 had been deported, half of which did
The Cross of the
Liberation is awarded to the city of Grenoble
the Companion of the Liberation communities
Last updated: 28 November 2001
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