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French Tv to Air Controversial Documentary on Underground Unity

June 14, 1985
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State-controlled television, reversing an earlier decision, announced today that it will screen a documentary film about an underground resistance network comprised mainly of Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe which fought the Nazis during the occupation of France in World War II until it was “sold out” to the Germans by the French Communist Party.

The Television Authority decided to reschedule the film in face of angry protests that it had given in to Communist Party pressure when it cancelled the screening last month. The Communists, for their part, are denouncing the turn-about, charging it is intended to “make the people forget the economic crisis and unemployment.”

The French Communists have always claimed, not without some credibility, that they were the most active resistors to the Nazis. The film is about a resistance network known as the “Manouchian Group” named after its leader, an Armenian refugee. Its members, most of them Jews, carried out daring attacks on German troops in occupied France. They were eventually arrested and most were executed. At the time of their arrest, the group was closely affiliated with the Communist underground.

Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld, one of the many Frenchmen who protested the cancellation of the film, said the documentary was an important lesson in history because it showed “that the Jews did not walk meekly to their death but fought back against the Nazis.”

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