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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
French Resistance hero dies at 94
Henri Rol-Tanguy in October 1944
Rol-Tanguy became a Communist at a young age
Henri Rol-Tanguy, the Communist resistance leader who during World War II commanded the uprising in Paris against the Germans, has died at the age of 94.


We will all miss him, but no one will forget his example

Communist Party statement

He was known as one of the planners of the liberation of Paris, when General Charles de Gaulle led French troops into the city after the German retreat on 25 August 1944.

He became a Communist as a young man and fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War.

Paying tribute to Rol-Tanguy, President Jacques Chirac said: "He was one of the greatest figures of the Resistance... An actor and a witness in unforgettable events has died. But his example will live on - an example of will, courage, patriotism and love of liberty and the republic."

During World War II, he organised underground groups in Paris and took the sobriquet Colonel Rol.

In August 1944 - hoping to forestall the arrival of the Allies and the Gaullist Free French Forces - he appeared on posters across Paris urging a general mobilisation and uprising against the occupying Germans.

His fighters joined the advancing second armoured division of General Philippe Leclerc.

At a ceremony on 25 August 1944, the two men together signed the surrender document of the German commander, General Dietrich von Choltitz.

Active member

Born Henri Tanguy in Brittany in 1908, he moved to Paris at the age of 15 and joined the youth wing of the Communist Party two years later in 1925.

A metal worker by trade, he became an active member and then an official of the powerful CGT trade union, which traditionally has strong links to the Communist Party.

After World War II broke out, Rol-Tanguy joined the Resistance in 1939.

After the war, he retired in 1962 and went on to write several books about the resistance and the liberation.

He devoted his attention to the then-powerful Communist Party, which he served on the party's central committee from 1962 to 1987.

See also:

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