On 18th June 1940, after the famous speech from London of General de Gaulle, the leaders of the free French forces decided to resist against the occupying forces. The country was cut in two parts and Resistance groups were created in the occupied and unoccupied zones of France.
In November 1942, after the Allied landings in North Africa known as "Operation Torch," the Germans and Italians decided to occupy the free zone of France as a form of reprisal. The Italians were allies of Germany and Japan. These 3 countries signed a tripartite pact called "Axis powers" on September 27th, 1940.
Map of France Occupation zone and Free zone (source :https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Vichy_France_Map.jpg)
French men and women escaped from the forced labor imposed by Hitler (Compulsory Work Service, STO) and joined the French Resistance.
Some resistants hid in the mountains and were called "maquisards." Most maquisards operated in the "maquis," which were isolated spots in the forested or mountainous areas of Brittany and southern France, especially in the Alps and the Limousin.
They resorted to guerrilla techniques to attack the Militia and Axis occupation troops. They also helped the Jews and the Allies airmen whose planes were shot down to escape. The maquisards were supplied weapons by the British via parachute. Their life were difficult and when they were caught by the enemies, they were immediately executed.
Among numerous maquis in France, 50 men joined the "Maquis de Montfort" in Passy (Haute-Savoie) in the French Alps. This place is situated close to the Italian border.
Montfort, elevation of 1,181 meters
The maquisards stayed together in a chalet, but they did not have much to eat, let alone clothing or weapons. They lived under constant pressure of being caught and killed by the French Milice or Italian soldiers.
View of the valley from the Maquis de Montfort
On August 10th, 1943, after the attack of a camp while trying to find supplies, five young French men from this maquis were killed by the fascist.
The name of these five fallen heroes are:
Maurice VIDALIN, Jean COLLET, Roger André LORATO, Edmond TOUZE and Roger WUTRICH
A monument was built in memory of these young men