PARIS—A commemorative ceremony dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the execution of Missak Manouchian and his companions by Nazis was held at Fort Mont-Valérien fortress in the outskirts Paris.
French President François Hollande laid a wreath at the memorial in honor of Manouchian and his companions and later gave a speech. Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian was also present on behalf of the Republic of Armenia.
Missak Manouchian was a French-Armenian poet and militant communist in France’s Immigrant Workforce Movement (MOI), who became well known for his leadership in the French Resistance movement against the Nazis with his famous Manouchian Group.
After years of leading fights against France’s Nazi oppressors, carrying out operations to save persecuted minorities and to disrupt the Nazis’ plans, Manouchian was captured, along with 68 of his comrades.
Manouchian and 21 of his companions were shot on February 21, 1944, at Fort Mont-Valérien, where Friday’s ceremony took place.
Speaking about Manouchian, President Hollande said: “He was one of those survivors of the Armenian Genocide, who settled in France and joined its struggle for liberation. Manouchian was not the only Armenian to sacrifice his life for the freedom of the country.”
Attending the ceremony were members of the French Government, the Senate and the National Assembly, politicians and public figures, Charles Aznavour, and representatives of Armenian organizations in France.