Simone Segouin, the 18 year old French Resistance fighter, 1944

Members of the French Resistance are photographed in the middle of a fight against German troops during the liberation of Paris. We see a man in provisional army uniform on the left and a young man on the right.

Then, most surprisingly, we see a woman in shorts, a patterned top, and a military cap in the center. The picture of this young female fighter will become a symbol of women's participation in the resistance.

Her name was Simone Segouin, also known as her Nominee de Guerre Nicole Minette. She was 18 years old when this photo was taken. The girl had killed two Germans fighting in Paris two days earlier and also assisted in the capture of 25 German prisoners of war during the fall of Chartres.

In 1944, at the height of the Nazi occupation of France, she joined the François-Tierres et Partisans (Free-shooters and Partisans, or FTP) – a fighting coalition made up of militant communists and French nationalists.

Simone was very much in the latter camp. His father was a huge inspiration - a decorated soldier who had fought in the Great War - and he was very proud of his country.

Simone Segouin was involved in armed actions against enemy convoys and trains, attacks against enemy units, acts of sabotage, etc. The French newspaper Independent Eure-et-Loir described him as "one of the purest fighters" in its August 26, 1944 issue. The heroic French resistance that paved the way for liberation".

She was present at the Fall of Chartres and the Liberation of Paris on August 23, 1944. He was promoted to lieutenant and awarded the Croix de Guerre. A street in Courville-sur-Eure was named after him.

The gun he has is a German MP-40. Many German weapons were captured and used by the French Resistance. The gun was effective at close quarters due to its automatic fire and moderate stopping power against regular infantry enemies.

The MP-40 was often referred to by the Allies as "Schmeisser", after weapons designer Hugo Schmeisser. Schmeisser designed the MP-18, which was the first mass-produced submachine gun, and saw widespread service at the end of World War I. However, he did not design the MP-40.

The Later Life of Simone Segouin
Simone became a pediatric nurse at Chartres, where her wartime exploits made her immensely popular. While she had six children with her husband, she never took his name.

"I am very happy to know that people are not indifferent to this period of my life," she later said of her time in the Resistance. "I was fighting for the Resistance, that's all. If I had to start all over again, I would, because I have no regrets. The Germans were our enemies, and we were the French."

Despite her war years, Simone was always aware of how difficult it was for women to play a role in the Resistance. They made up a little over ten percent of the force, and the majority were confined to non-combat roles. But still, her presence helped bring about a change in the way women were treated.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.