Georges Dukson

Georges Dukson was a French soldier from what is now Gabon who escaped from a German prisoner-of-war camp after being captured in 1940, and who lived in secret in Paris. He joined in the fighting in the 17th arrondissement, around Batignolles, during which he was involved in capturing a German armoured car and a tank.

This rather dramatic image was published in 1947:

dukson6Reality was rather different. Two tanks were seized by the FFI fighters in the 17th. This SOMUA tank was simply taken from the factory and driven away, with Dukson leading the way (with his back to the camera):

Dukson60001It was later repainted in FFI colours:

4332227This tank destroyer armoured car was overwhelmed by the population, although Dukson was clearly playing a key role:

Pic 8bsmall Pic 8bcirclesmallFootage of Dukson appears in the film  Libération de Paris . This first clip shows Dukson with his comrades and a captured German soldier.

The second, also taken from  Libération de Paris, shows Dukson being evacuated after being shot in the arm:

On 26 August, Dukson was one of the FFI fighters who was invited to form the guard of honour on either side of de Gaulle’s victory parade. This picture shows that he was just behind de Gaulle when the Free French leader laid a wreath of gladioli on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, underneath the Arc de Triomphe. It is hard to imagine that his presence was not officially approved:


A few minutes later, Dukson was near de Gaulle at the head of the parade:


thumb_24253655ceShortly after the parade began to move, a member of the 2e DB apparently tried to get Dukson out of the way, with de Gaulle apparently looking on:


This American film, taken, towards the bottom of the Champs-Elysées, clearly shows Dukson still on the parade, playing his role.

After the liberation, Dukson got involved in the black market, was arrested and then shot while trying to escape; he died on the operating table.

Other black fighters

Georges Dukson is the most renowned black Resistance fighter in Paris, but there were others, although their names are not known.

These two photos from the 26 August parade show FFI fighters marching alongside a 2e DB half-track, along the rue de Rivoli. There are two black men – one at the front, holding a placard, the other at the back of the group in the first picture:

PAR29699PAR78750As the parade was taking place, to the north-east of Paris a massacre of over 100 FFI fighters was taking place at Oissery (see Chapter 17). One of the young men who was captured by the Germans was 16 year-old Yves Goussard:

YG23Yves was deported and eventually died in Bergen-Belsen of typhus, at the same time, in the same place and of the same cause as another, more renowned teenage victim of Nazism: Anne Frank.