Five French communes are Companions of the Liberation. The Order of Liberation is “intended to reward civilian and military communities or individuals who distinguish themselves in efforts to liberate France and the French Empire”. General de Gaulle thus bestowed the Cross of Liberation on, as civilian communities:
The pact of friendship between Companion of the Liberation cities
The five communes have been tied by a pact of friendship since 3 December 1981, thanks to the initiative of General Jean Simon, Chancellor of the Order at the time. This pact is intended to ensure the continued existence of the Order and create special ties between their respective communities.
In 2013, aware of their responsibility towards the values of Resistance held by the Order of Liberation, the five communes had their city councils adopt the text of an oath.
While the world was sinking into a profound tragedy, our five communes chose to resist.
Because they managed to push their bravery to the very limit of sacrifice; because – true to the motto of the Order – by serving their country, they brought victory; our five communes were elevated by General de Gaulle to the honour of Companion of the Liberation Communes.
As André Malraux used to say, it falls to the Companions to “represent all those who, when necessary, were no less brave than they”. The Companion communes also symbolise all the cities that opposed the occupying forces with relentless determination, just as the Companion of the Liberation military units represent all those that contributed to the liberation of France at their side.
We value this honour and accept its responsibilities.
It is incumbent upon us firstly to listen to the last Companions, who for so many years have kept the memory, traditions and values of the Order of Liberation alive.
Our communes have now become the stewards of these pre-eminent values.
It was for liberty that so many women and men were slain in acts of barbarism.
It was for equality that, on 15 March 1944, the Council of the Resistance drew-up a plan whose spirit of justice it is our responsibility to uphold.
During the long night of Occupation and on all the battlefields, it was fraternity that saved Companions, regardless of their political persuasions, religions, backgrounds or divisions.
For all these reasons, our communes hereby take the solemn oath to preserve the memory and legacy of those who fought to ensure the values of the Resistance – which are also those of the Republic – triumphed.