Marie-Madeleine Fourcade; French Resistance Leader
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, 79, a leading figure in the French Resistance during World War II. She headed the Alliance network of the Resistance using the code name Herisson, or Hedgehog. She was the only woman to head one of the large networks of Resistance fighters against the Nazis in France. Born into a bourgeois family in Marseilles, she studied music at the Ecole Normale de Musique and as a young girl lived for a time in Shanghai. In 1940, after the fall of France, she was in Oloron-Ste. Marie at the foothills of the Pyrenees. She immediately joined the Resistance, helping commanders Loustaunau-lacau and Louis Faye set up the Alliance network, also known as Noah’s Ark. Alliance had 3,000 members from across the political spectrum and supplied Britain with a stream of important information, including the movements of submarines out of Brest and Lorient. About 600 members of the organization died in concentration camps after being arrested or were killed by Nazi firing squads, including 101 Alliance members executed at the Struthof camp in 1944. Fourcade was arrested at Aix-en-Provence in 1942 but managed to escape. In 1943, she spent six months in Britain to throw the Nazis off her trail before returning to France for the remainder of the war. She was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and for a time served as a member of the European Parliament at Strasbourg. In Paris on Thursday of cancer.