PARIS (May. 30)
The State-controlled television yesterday decided against screening a TV film which charges the war-time French Communist Party with betraying a Jewish resistance group.
The film, “Retired Terrorists,” retraces the story of “the Manouchian group,” a network of anti-Nazi resistance fighters. Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld accused the Television Authority of having “given in to Communist Party pressures and to the (Communist) Party’s refusal to search into its past.”
The wartime resistance group, led by an Armenian, Missak Manouchian, consisted of 21 other refugees, mainly East European Jews. All were executed by a German firing squad in February, 1944. The group, affiliated with the French Communist underground, had carried out 120 armed actions which included sabotaging German troops trains and killing individual Nazis.
Countless historians have sought to find out who betrayed the group. According to Communist researchers, it was a certain Joseph Davidowitcz, a former member of the group, who betrayed his comrades under torture. Davidowitcz was later executed by another resistance group.
Other historians believe the Communist Party itself betrayed the group for tactical and political reasons. The banned film supports that stand.
Klarsfeld charged that banning the film is part of an attempt “to erase from public consciousness the active role played by thousands of Jews in the anti-Nazi resistance fight.” Organizations of former Jewish resistance fighters, who hoped that the airing of the film would put on record the role Jews had played in fighting the Nazis in France, have also protested against the ban. The film was to have been screened at prime time next Sunday.