PARIS (JTA) – Raymond Aubrac, a prominent figure of the French Resistance against the Nazis during World War II, has died.
Aubrac died on Tuesday evening in Paris, at the age of 97, his daughter confirmed.
Aubrac, who was Jewish, was born Raymond Samuel in 1914 in Vesoul in eastern France.
He was one of the last high-profile members of the National Council of the Resistance, a movement founded in 1943 and coordinated by Jean Moulin to fight the Vichy Regime.
Aubrac joined the Resistance in 1940 with his wife, Lucie, who died five years ago. In June 1943, the Gestapo arrested him and other leaders of the Resistance in Caluire, near Lyon in east-central France. Jean Moulin, who also was arrested, died from torture a few days later.
Aubrac escaped in an attack led by his wife during a prison transfer. The couple spent the end of the war in London.
After the liberation of France in 1944, Aubrac was named the state supervisor for the city of Marseille in southern France, where he was in charge of reconstruction efforts and mine clearance. In 1964, he was appointed director of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.
A communist militant for many years, Aubrac had backed the socialist Francois Hollande for upcoming French presidential elections. “In our darkest times, he was, with Lucie Aubrac, among the righteous, who found, in themselves and in the universal values of our Republic, the strength to resist Nazi barbarism, “ Hollande said in a statement.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called him a “heroic figure” of the Resistance.