Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lucie Aubrac 1912-2007

The truly remarkable French Resistance fighter Lucie Aubrac passed away yesterday at the age of 94; Aubrac, a lifelong member of the French Communist Party led an audacious raid on the prison near Caluire in Lyon in 1943 where her husband Raymond was being held, freeing him and thirteen other Resistance fighters. She had previously organised her own escape from a Nazi prison in 1940. A measure of her bravery was her meeting with Klaus Barbie, the notorious Lyon Gestapo chief, to negotiate a meeting with the incarcerated Raymond before springing him from prison under the nose of the Butcher himself. Lucie later escaped to London where she lived before returning to France after the war. She was played by Carole Bouquet (and Raymond by Daniel Auteuil) in a leaden biopic by Claude Berri ten years ago and she published in recent years a book poignantly entitled How Do I Explain Racism to My Grandchildren? Her longevity was equalled by Raymond, who survives her age 92.