Today marks the 75th anniversary of the execution of Guy Môquet, a 17 year young French Communist militant.and resistance fighter.During the German occupation of France during World War II, he was taken hostage by the Nazis and executed by firing squad in retaliation for attacks on Germans by the French Resistance. Môquet went down in history as one of the symbols of the French Resistance.
Guy Prosper Eustache Môquet was born on 26 April 1924 in the 18th arrondissement of Paris.He studied at the Lycée Carnot and joined the Communist Youth Movement. After the occupation of Paris by the Germans and the installation of the Vichy government, he was denounced on 13 October 1940 and arrested at the Gare de l’Est metro station by three police officers of the French Anti-Communist Special Brigade. He had with him a poem about three of his arrested comrades, handwritten by him.
“The traitors of our country
These agents of capitalism
We will drive them away
In order to establish socialism
To get you out of jail
To kill capitalism”
These are the last words he sent to his family.
“My darling Mummy, my adored brother, my much loved Daddy, I am going to die! What I ask of you, especially you Mummy, is to be brave. I am, and I want to be, as brave as all those who have gone before me. Of course, I would have preferred to live. But what I wish with all my heart is that my death serves a purpose. I didn’t have time to embrace Jean. I embraced my two brothers Roger and Rino (1). As for my real brother, I cannot embrace him, alas! I hope all my clothes will be sent back to you. They might be of use to Serge, I trust he will be proud to wear them one day. To you, my Daddy to whom I have given many worries, as well as to my Mummy, I say goodbye for the last time. Know that I did my best to follow the path that you laid out for me. A last adieu to all my friends, to my brother whom I love very much. May he study hard to become a man later on. Seventeen and a half years, my life has been short, I have no regrets, if only that of leaving you all. I am going to die with Tintin, Michels. Mummy, what I ask you, what I want you to promise me, is to be brave and to overcome your sorrow. I cannot put any more. I am leaving you all, Mummy, Serge, Daddy, I embrace you with all my child’s heart. Be brave! Your Guy who loves you.”
The reason why this story touches me is because I have a 17 year old son and I can even start to imagine the pain Guy’s father must have felt. it would have destroyed me. Often we forget about those who stay behind and the pain they felt. This was a remarkable young boy and I am not sure how many boys of that age would make the sacrifice he made.