Obituary Cécile ROL-TANGUY

Again we must say farewell to a great representative of the anti-fascist struggle, Cécile ROL-TANGUY. She died on 8 May 2020, the 75th anniversary of the liberation at the age of 101 years in Monteaux.



A family declaration stated: "This is the disappearance of one of the last figures of the French Resistance and the liberation of Paris in August 1944, who carried the highest honours of the Republic (Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour, Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit, Medal of Resistance, Cross of the Voluntary Fighter of the Resistance) and was a symbol of the place of women in the fight against Vichy and the Nazi occupier. Cécile ROL-TANGUY always stressed that she accepted these awards only as a tribute to all the women in the shadows, who were indispensable links in the secret struggle. To the deportees, to the internees, to all those who were murdered by the enemy and yet so often forgotten at the hour of victory. To all the women who, like her, simply regained their place in the daily life of their families and the country after the end of the war.”

Their political commitment began as early as 1936 in her work for the Popular Front and the Spanish Republic. It was there that she met Henri TANGUY, representative of the Parisian steelworkers, fighters in the International Brigades in defence of the Spanish Republic. They got married in 1939, just before the war. At the end of June 1940, when the Wehrmacht marched into Paris, she joined the Resistance. She wrote leaflets, trade union newspapers and other illegal documents from the banned CGT and worked for communist lawyers defending the first prisoners of the Vichy regime.

From October 1940, the couple went underground. She was Henri's connection with the other fighters in the underground. During this period, in May 1941 and November 1943, she also gave birth to two children, Hélène and Jean. Together with her husband, she took part in the Paris Uprising in August 1944 on the secret command staff. She was the only woman at the reception that General De Gaulle gave at the Hôtel de Ville to the FFI General Staff in Ile-de-France on 26 August 1944. Cécile and Henri Rol-Tanguy with Lucie and Raymond Aubrac remain the two pairs of symbols of the French Resistance. After the war, she gave birth to two other children, Claire (1946) and Francis (1953), and remained her husband's indispensable collaborator.

Until her last breath, Cécile ROL-TANGUY continued to demonstrate her loyalty to the generous utopia of communism, to her youthful commitment to social justice and the emancipation of women. After her husband, who died in 2002, Cécile was president of ANACR and honorary president of ACER / AVER (Spanish fighters). Until 2014, she was still active as a contemporary witness in schools. At the age of 100, in August 2019, she took part in the ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Paris.

The FIR expresses its deepest sympathy to her family and her political companions and comrades-in-arms. For all antifascists Cécile ROL-TANGUY will remain unforgotten.

Dr. Ulrich Schneider, Secretary general FIR