Presidents honour Resistance fighters at battle site

Macron and Sarkozy mark 75th anniversary of the Battle of Glières

Two Presidents commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Glières at the weekend, where more than 100 Resistance fighters were killed by Germans soldiers and French militias.

President Emmanuel Macron made a speech at the ceremony in the Haute-Savoie on Sunday, March 31, at the Morette necropolis before visiting a monument dedicated to the Resistance.

"If we are here, at the foot of this plateau (...) seventy-five years later, it is because the people of France have not forgotten anything about your sacrifice. If we are here, it is to say … that the lesson of honour and courage you have given us is intact," Mr Macron said in a speech.

He was accompanied by former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who visited the site every year during his term in office, as well as current ministers Jean-Michel Blanquer and Geneviève Darrieussecq.

The difficult-to-access Glières area, at 1,450 metres in the Bornes mountains was a key strategic point for Resistance fighters, where they collected weapons parachuted in by Allied forces.

On 26 March, 1944, the Vichy government launched a siege against the 465 resistance fighters, known as "maquisards", on the plateau. Some 124 of them were killed in the fighting, another nine went missing and 16 died after being deported.

In 2011, historian Claude Barbier argued that no real 'battle' in Glières took place. Instead, he said, it was a massive show of force by Nazi soldiers and their French Vichy counterparts against retreating, exhausted and starving resistance fighters.

The National Monument to the Résistance, is a sculpture made of concrete by Émile Gilioli, representing a bird with its right wing amputated. It was inaugurated on 2 September 1973 by André Malraux, former minister under General de Gaulle and former resistance fighter.

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