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ARCHIVES DEPARTEMENTALES

On August 18, 1944, about 600 men from the Resistance took
control of all entrances to Annecy thus effectively bottling up
the German garrison of some 1,000 men (including the
wounded in the hospital). Left: Their city just liberated, a party

of young Resistants proudly pose with their Bren gun and LeeEnfield rifle, weapons obtained from Allied air drops. Right: The
photo was taken in front the Gabriel Faur School in Avenue
de Loverchy.

TRAGEDY ON THE EVE OF D-DAY

R. POIRSON

By Jean Paul Pallud

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ARCHIVES DEPARTEMENTALES

The Galbert Barracks on the morning of the 19th. It was here that AS fighter Georges
Gautard found a pack of photos in the pocket of a surrendering German that later
proved to have been taken at Ugine and show the aftermath of a German act of
vengeance that had taken place in June 1944.

In August 1944, the two departments of


Savoie in south-eastern France were liberated solely by the Resistance, well before the
arrival of Allied troops driving northwards
after the landing in the Riviera (see After the
Battle No. 105). During the liberation of
Annecy on the morning of August 19, a party
of men from the Arme Secrte (AS)
assaulted the local barracks occupied by
German troops. A young resistant, Georges
Gautard, suddenly came face to face with a
German rushing out of a building with his
hands up. I saw a bump in a pocket on his
chest, recalled Gautard, which I thought
was a pistol. I quickly searched the pocket
but there was no weapon, just a pack of
photos.
For 60 years, Gautard kept these photos in
a drawer as a treasured memory of his youth,
and it was not until 2003 that he showed
them off. Like all snapshots taken by garrison soldiers, most show everyday life in barracks with men eating or exercising, and others depict what might be a search operation
being carried out in the mountains. However
when I saw them a few photos particularly
captured my attention, like the one showing

Left: German prisoners being marched off to a POW camp.


Other photos of this same group show some of them having
the German national police emblem on their caps, an indica-

tion that they belonged to SS-Polizei-Regiment 19. The man


from whom Gautard confiscated the photos was probably one
of them. Right: The same view in Rue Filaterie today.
39

G. GAUTARD

The writing on the back of this photo specified that the transport from Slovenia to
France took five days, March 1 to 5, 1944. The 1. Kp. chalked on the car indicates
that these men were from the 1st Company.

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G GAUTARD

In July 1942, it was decided that the various battalions and reserve battalions of
the German police should be brought
together and formed into 28 motorised
Polizei-Regiments. Polizei-Regiment 19
was then formed in Veldes (Bled) in occupied Yugoslovia, where its constituent
battalions Polizei-Bataillone 72, 171 and
181 were then serving (the regiments
depots were at Vienna and Linz) and given
a special mountain training. In February
1943, in recognition of their faithful and
successful services, all Polizei-Regiments
were renamed SS-Polizei-Regiment but
they remained however an integral part of
the Ordungspolizei and did not form part
of the Waffen-SS. SS-Polizei-Regiment 19
first operated in Lower Styria (today eastern Slovenia) and in the Upper Ukraine,
then moved to France in the spring of
1944. The I. Bataillon, under Hauptmann
Schulz, was posted to Haute-Savoie and
its 1. Kompanie, under Oberleutnant
Rassi, was stationed at Annecy. Policemen on active duty wore a green field uniform almost identical to that worn by the
Army. The emblem of the national police
appeared on the front of the head-dress,
right side of the helmet and on the left
sleeve of the tunic. Badges of rank were
the same as in the Army for officers while
other ranks wore the police-pattern shoulder straps with aluminium stars.

a roadside crater. On the reverse of this picture was written in German: Where 11 of my
comrades died. Other photos showed buildings destroyed by fire.
German soldiers killed by an explosion;
buildings burned down? I immediately put
two and two together and surmised what
these particular photos might show. This particular German had been at Ugine in June
1944 and his photos portray the drama that
happened there on the 5th. On that day, the
Resistance had exploded a mine hidden by
the side of a track just as a group of German
soldiers passed by. The explosion killed 11 of
them and injured some 20 others. In reprisal,
the enraged survivors grabbed men passing
in the street and shot 28 of them.
A visit to Ugine, about 35 kilometres
south-east of Annecy, confirmed my suspicions that these photos had been taken there:
the mountains visible in the background provided a perfect comparison, as did the school
where the Germans had been garrisoned.
Most of the participants in the tragedy of
June 5, 1944 are now dead, and unfortunately few have left behind their version of
the events. The group of Francs Tireurs Partisans (FTP) who had organised the attack
did not produce a report, and personal
accounts written by individuals have not yet
come to light.
40

Jean Paul discovered that these photos were taken at Giez, a


few kilometres west of Faverges, in front of a mansion where
some of the 1. Kompanie were quartered for a time.

G. GAUTARD

Equipment of an SS-Polizei-Regiment was of the standard


Army pattern but weapons and vehicles tended to be of an
obsolete type like this requisitioned Saurer lorry.

A standard BMW R75 motorcycle, its Pol registration plate indicating that it
belonged to a police unit.

G. GAUTARD
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The caption written on the back of this photo says that Oberleutnant Rassi,
the commander of the 1. Kompanie, is in this group, obviously the tall figure in the

As these photos all show Giez, midway between Annecy and Ugine, they were most
probably taken when the party were on their way to take up quarters in Ugine.
mill located there. Sauvanet wrote that the
commander of the 6me Escadron, Capitaine
Perrolaz, was in close contact with the

Arme Secrte which allowed the Resistance to carry out sabotage thanks to our
complicity.

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G. GAUTARD

I was however lucky to meet and interview three genuine witnesses: Madame
Louise Barat, Monsieur Robert Amprimo
and Monsieur Rgis Roche. Over six
decades later, their memory of June 5, 1944
was still incredibly clear. At the time, Mrs
Barat was 25 years old, and with her husband Jean she operated a dairy, processing
local milk products especially to make
cheese. Her brother, Gaston Maniglier, was
one of the hostages shot by the Germans on
June 5. Robert Amprimo was 16 years old in
1944 and living at Les Corres in one of the
apartment flats that were blown up by the
Germans on June 6. His brother Marcel, a
member of the FTP, had been arrested in
February 1944 and deported to Germany
(he ended up in the Flossenbrg concentration camp (see After the Battle No. 131) and
died in the satellite camp at Leitmeritz, now
Litomerice in the Czech Republic, in 1945).
Rgis Roche was then 16 and working as an
apprentice at the Donzel bakery in the Place
des Fontaines, the main road junction in
Ugine. He had been living there with his
parents for some months after having left
Modane where their house had been
destroyed during an air raid. (RAF Bomber
Command had twice bombed Modane, a
small town in Savoie, where a railway tunnel
took the line under the Alps from France to
Italy. The two raids, in September and
November, were each carried out by more
than 300 heavy bombers but were not accurate, particularly the September raid. The
railway installations were hardly hit, traffic
only being interrupted for four days, but the
town itself was badly damaged with 67 civilians killed and over 150 wounded.)
I also found an interesting written testimony by Albert Sauvanet who in 1944 had
been member of a French security detachment of the Garde a police force stationed at Ugine. Sometime during the 1990s
(the actual year is not given), he wrote down
his recollection of his time at Ugine in 1944.
Originally he had been a member of the
small French Armistice Army but he had
been demobilised in November 1942 when
the Germans invaded the free zone of France
and disbanded the force. To avoid being sent
to work in Germany, he then joined the
Garde, the Vichy successor of the Garde
Rpublicaine Mobile. The force remained
virtually unchanged as far as its organisation
was concerned and, due to its republican origin, the Garde was far from being dedicated
to Vichy, in fact it was largely infiltrated by
the Resistance.
Sauvanet was posted to Savoie to join the
6me Escadron of the 1er Rgiment of the
Garde based at Chambry. In early June
1944, a platoon of the unit was posted to
Ugine to ensure the security of the large steel

Left: The caption on this one proves that this was the case:
Near Faverges, on the way to Ugine. The man sitting in

the centre is a Wachtmeister (Senior Sergeant). Right: The


entrance of Faverges today, looking eastwards into the town.
41

Specialised in producing high-quality steel, the Ugine steelworks was to be a key


target for Allied bombers if the Resistance failed to halt production and from September 1943 the underground fighters eagerly turned to the task. Their repeated attacks
on the plant greatly affected its production which fell from 48,000 tonnes in 1941 to
20,000 tonnes in 1944. This old postcard shows the mill in the 1950s. The view is
westwards, with the Les Fontaines junction in the right background.
regularly to the Barat dairy, not far from the
school, to purchase butter and cheese. On
two mornings a week a group went down to
exercise, either at the sports field on the road
to Albertville or the firing range that had
been set up near the railway station. How-

ever, the force was far too small to exert any


real influence on the local situation so the
Resistance still maintained effective control
of the sector. Jean Barat told me how from
April 1944 he had to obtain a pass to make
his tour and collect milk at nearby Marthod,

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G. GAUTARD

GERMAN POLICE DESPATCHED


TO UGINE
The resistance movements were particularly active in the mountainous departments
of Savoie. At Ugine, the main target was the
steel mill which would have to be bombed if
the Resistance were unable to halt production but they knew that an aerial attack
would result in much damage to the town and
loss of life as the bombing at nearby
Modane and Chambry was soon to prove.
So far efforts had only extended to disrupting
day-to-day operations like switching labels to
send railway carriages loaded with steel to
the wrong destinations. The first major attack
on the mill took place in July 1943 when five
electric transformers were destroyed.
Another attack followed in September, and
in October the hydro-electric plant feeding
the mill was sabotaged. Another attempt put
a large crane out of action in December and
water pumps were sabotaged on Christmas
Day, interrupting production until February.
The first months of 1944 saw a dozen electric
pylons being blown up. Then in March 1944,
a joint operation by the AS and FTP again hit
the hydro-electric plant.
For the Germans, this was the final straw
and that same month a party from the 1.
Kompanie of SS-Polizei-Regiment 19 was
despatched to Ugine from Annecy where the
company was based. This was a police unit in
charge of maintaining order in the occupied
areas and, more particularly, waging war
against the Resistance. The party, some 35
strong, took up quarters at the Ecole Maternelle and began to patrol the town round the
clock. As they behaved reasonably, they
were not particularly feared, and some came

Still a school today, its yard remains unchanged over six


decades later.

Left: The Germans took over the canteen and quickly adorned
it with a painting of the NSDAP flag, flanked by the coats of
arms of their home towns, Munich, Berlin, Vienna and
Stuttgart. Right: The school director, Mrs Valrie Trouflau,
kindly allowed Jean Paul to inspect each class room, looking

for the place where the German canteen had been, and there it
was, in the childrens dormitory! Two openings in the righthand corner remain unchanged but some play apparatus prevented Jean Paul from taking his comparison from the exact
spot where the German photographer had stood.

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G. GAUTARD

At Ugine, the 35-strong German party took up quarters in the


Ecole Maternelle. Here they are unpacking their stuff.

42

G. GAUTARD

The Germans set up a range near the railway station from where
they could fire into the woods at the bottom of the hill across the
Chaise river. The 50mm leichte Granatwerfer 36 pictured here
was withdrawn from front-line service in 1942, as it launched too
light a bomb, but remained in use with second-line and garrison
units. The man kneeling is the Wachtmeister we already saw on
page 41 and the two men in the foreground are Unterwachtmeis-

With Allied landings expected any day, the


FTP command was pushing local groups to
carry out operations to tie down Germans in
their areas. At Ugine, while Compagnie 9213 was eager for action, German targets were
thin on the ground and the means at their
disposal small. At the beginning of April
information was received that a lorry containing German troops from Annecy was to
arrive during the morning of April 5 (intelligence probably gained from the German

requisition of the vehicle). Consequently, a


party comprising some six men from the FTP
company was detailed to ambush the lorry.
They opened fire at it as it drove along the
N508 at Chamfroid, five kilometres west of
Ugine, and then made their escape toward
the wooded mountain. Four gendarmes from
the town (Ren Montessuit, Henri Vray,
Pierre Savary and Alexis Roche) were
ordered to investigate and fortunately their
report (No. 138) dated April 5 has survived.

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G. GAUTARD

a pass signed by a Capitaine Raymond of


the FTP whom he knew as a worker from the
electricity company.
Another operation hit the mills water supply on April 29. On May 3, a concerted
attack by the AS was successful in sabotaging
the factory at three vital points, resulting in
all production being halted for a month.
None of the attackers was identified and
arrested, neither by the Germans nor the
French Gendarmes or Gardes.

ter (Sergeants). Note the national police emblem on the front of


their cap and the edelweiss badge peculiar to mountain troops
on the side. The place where the Resistance blew the road mine
on June 5, killing 11 Germans, and where 19 hostages were subsequently shot is just a dozen metres off to the left. In the background are the three apartment flats at Les Corres that were
blown up in retaliation on June 6.

Left: The party then turned to operate a 47mm anti-tank gun.


Manufactured by Bhler in Austria in the 1930s, this type of
gun was widely sold for export and the Germans had seized a
number of them in the Netherlands in 1940 and Italy in 1943,

taking them over under the designation 4.7cm PaK (Bhler).


However it was quite obsolete, badly lacking striking power.
Right: Looking westwards from Ugine, the southern end of the
Aravis mountain range provides a perfect background.
43

UGINE
GIEZ
FAVERGES

ALBERTVILLE

Reproduced from Michelin Sheet 244, 5th edition, 1988

Each morning, two FTP operatives were


ready to remotely detonate the charge but
for several days the Germans either failed to
appear or they turned away in the direction
of the sports field. The FTP men were at
their post as June 5 dawned fine.
JUNE 5, 1944
A few days prior to June 5 the Barats had
planned a family get-together. Gaston
Maniglier, the brother of Mrs Barat, was the
butcher at Doussard, about 20 kilometres to
the west in Haute-Savoie. He had been hired
to kill a cow for a party of loggers working in
the Val dArly and the arrangement was that
on June 5 he would come by lorry with them.

They were to travel via Ugine and he


planned to take his mother along with him so
that she could spend the day there with her
daughter. They would then return that
evening to Doussard.
Around 8 a.m., a party of Germans started
down from the Ecole Maternelle to the station for target practice. Albert Sauvanet
takes up the story.
A wonderful day was looming. I was
ahead of the opening hours of the slaughterhouse and the day was so beautiful that I
took a break and sat on the rails. A lorry of
the German army coming down from Ugine
stopped by the roadside some 200-250
metres from where I was. Some men jumped

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The attack took place exactly on the


boundary of the departments of Savoie and
Haute-Savoie, and spent cartridges were
found on both sides of the signpost demarcating the territory of the two departments.
The three cases were of 8mm and two of
them appear to be of English origin and the
third French. They were munitions used by
military weapons. The German party that
had been there before our arrival had collected many sub-machine gun cartridges at
the same location.
From what we noted on the spot, it
appears that several individuals who were
waiting for a possible passage of occupying
troops on the road, hidden behind the railway track located ten metres south of the
N508, had fired at a lorry loaded with soldiers. They killed one soldier outright and
more or less seriously wounded several others as well as the driver, a French civilian.
Realising the danger, the driver accelerated and drove the vehicle directly to the
German quarters in Ugine where the
wounded were immediately treated by Dr
Chavent.
The surrounding woods, particularly in
the southern direction of Marlens, HauteSavoie, and on the territories of Ugine and
Outrechaise, were quickly searched but it
was not possible to obtain the slightest evidence. The attack has been committed in a
remote place, away from any house, and
steep areas were near. The terrorists had
escaped easily toward the wooded mountain
south.
After confirming that one German had
been killed and several others wounded, two
seriously, the report explained that the
French driver, M. Gibello, a public works
contractor requisitioned by the Germans
with his lorry, soon returned home at Veyrier
near Annecy after his light wound had been
bandaged.
Back in March, the Ugine FTP had decided
to carry out an attack on the German squad
as it marched down from their quarters to the
firing range. Explosives would be buried by
the side of the track down the railway
embankment which would be triggered from
a hiding place under bushes some distance
away. As it took some time to obtain the
explosives (two crates of dynamite were
stolen from a road works company) and to
discreetly dig a hole, nearly one metre deep,
and bury the electric cable, it was early June
before everything was ready.

Left: Thanks to the Gendarmerie report which noted that it


took place exactly at the boundary of the departments of
Savoie and Haute-Savoie, we can precisely pinpoint the spot
where the FTP partisans attacked a German lorry on April 5.
This is the N508 at Chamfroid, five kilometres west of Ugine.
44

The FTP men were hiding behind the railway track, now
dismantled and turned into the bicycle track visible on the
right. The German lorry came in from the left. Right: It was
here, at the foot of the signpost, that Germans and Gendarmes collected the spent cartridges left by the attackers.

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G. GAUTARD

The place where 11 of my comrades died, reads the German


caption on the reverse of this photo. Taken by one of the survivors on June 7 or 8, it shows the crater where the 11 Germans were killed by the explosion of the mine, resulting in
the shooting of 19 hostages at this spot.
down. Rifle to the shoulder and in a column
of twos, they walked across the railway track
and the meadow that separated the track
from the hill. As they were reaching what
was their shooting range, I saw a mine
exploding, a burst of fire, earth, rocks and
bodies. At the same time, I saw two men
bent low down running away along the riverbed in the direction of Les Fontaines. The
Germans were too busy picking up their
dead and caring for their wounded, so no one
followed them.
Precise time of the explosion was 8.18 a.m.
The flats at Les Corres, only a few hundred metres from the scene, were rocked by
the explosion. Robert Amprimo saw a huge
cloud of dust and smoke hanging over the
railway. Being a member of the FTP he knew

The pasture has long gone, first being used as outdoor storage for a building company but now progressively being
reclaimed by trees. To gain some perspective, Jean Paul
shifted the angle of his comparison a little to the left. The
memorial stands some ten metres away to the right.

something was in the offing, but not exactly


what. Now he immediately understood what
the explosion meant. He rushed down to a
terrace by the side of the road from Faverges
and from there he could hear shouts coming
from the smoke and see faint shadows running through it.
Albert Sauvanet then saw the survivors
and the least wounded, there were not
many, pick up the dead bodies and load
them into their lorry together with those
badly hurt. At this point, the lorry with the
loggers and Gaston Maniglier and his mother
arrived from Faverges. The two or three
Germans still standing stopped the lorry. Mrs
Maniglier was ordered to leave the scene
while her son and all the men were marched
down to the firing range. There they were

lined up with hands in the air. The Germans


then began rounding up anyone else in the
vicinity. Among them was Angelo Capelli, a
father of seven children, who was seized as
he was tending to his front garden not far
from the station.
The explosion had been clearly heard at
the Gendarmerie in Ugine and, as it
appeared to come from the German firing
range near the station, a call was made to the
German quarters at the school. In their
rather vague Report No. 264 dated June 5,
the gendarmes stated that the Germans
informed us that an attack has been directed
against them on their training range. Three
gendarmes, Alfred Lacroux, Pierre Savary
and Alexis Roche, were immediately sent to
the scene where they saw several dead

ECOLE MATERNELLE

STEEL
MILL

LES CORRES

DONZEL BAKERY
MEMORIAL
PAUL FERT GARAGE
RAILWAY STATION

IGN

MEMORIAL

Taken in 1961, this aerial photo from the archives of the Institut
Gographique National shows the part of Ugine where the
drama of June 5 unfolded. The junction at Les Fontaines (centre

right) was still lined with the buildings that were there in 1944,
including Paul Ferts garage. The spot where the mine was
blown is where the memorial now stands opposite Les Corres.
45

This old postcard shows the view that witness Rgis Roche had from Les Fontaines
about midday on June 5. Walking with Emile Calvi and Rino Regazzoni to the bus
stop, he saw some Germans coming towards him and then turned back. The railway
station is in the left background and Paul Ferts garage just off to the left.

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L. BARAT

German soldiers and a crater four metres in


diameter and 1.1 metre deep. The German
troops having forbidden us to access the site
of the attentat we were unable to carry out
the usual inquiry.
The gendarme report does not mention
the hostages. However, Mrs Barat is
adamant that her mother, who had remained
nearby watching after the Germans ordered
her away, said that the gendarmes talked to
the hostages and even took a roll-call before
returning to the Gendarmerie.
At Les Corres, just opposite the scene of
the explosion and in direct view of what was
happening, as soon as they saw that the Germans were taking hostages, every man in the
vicinity ran to take refuge in the wooded
mountains. Robert Amprimo and his brother
Georges were among them. At the dairy,
some distance higher up in the town, Jean
and Louise Barat had heard the explosion
shaking the valley about a quarter past eight
but they could not leave to find out while the
milk was being processed. About 10 a.m. Mrs
Savary, the wife of Pierre, one of the gendarmes that they knew well, arrived in a
panic: The Germans are taking men hostage.
Jean must leave right away! Straightaway M.
Barat went to hide in the woods above Ugine.

Albert Sauvanet: The Germans pushed


the hostages to the side of the hole left by the
explosion. I say they, but there were only two
or three of them, for the others were carrying
the dead bodies to the lorry and taking care
of the wounded. Once at the side of the
crater, they shouted at their hostages to look
what had been done, at least I assume so
because I did not understand their words
from the distance where I was, the more so
because I had taken the precaution of lying
between the rails so as not to be seen. Then
there were bursts from sub-machine guns
and gun-shots and all the hostages fell down
into the hole. After this, the Germans
returned to their quarters with their dead
and transported their wounded to hospital.
When their lorry had left, I went to the
scene of the massacre to see if there were any
still alive. I had to take each of the bodies out
of the tangled mass and lie them onto the
meadow but there were no survivors.
According to Mrs Barats mother (she was
still nearby though out of sight of the shooting for it had taken place on the other side of
the railway embankment), this first massacre
of 19 men had taken place about 10 a.m.,
which corresponds with Albert Sauvanets
account.
46

Paul Ferts garage just across the junction (part of the last two
letters of GARAGE, GE, are just visible at top left in the bottom
photo). Right: The main junction in Ugine, greatly changed since
1944. Many of the houses have been demolished, including the
garage, to make room for widening the roads and adding a large
roundabout. A memorial now stands at the exact spot where the
hostages were shot.

L. BARAT

Left and below: These extraordinary photos were taken late on


June 6 by a young engineer then following a training course at
the steelworks. It was about 7.15 p.m. when he took these photos from the room of the hotel where he lodged at Les Fontaines.
The Mayor, Lon Ecoffet, is the one on the left in the group of
three standing in the middle of the photo (below) as Gendarmes
and Gardes are beginning to recover the bodies to take them to

R. AMPRIMO

R. AMPRIMO

Left: The three apartment blocks at Les Corres had been built
on a design drawn up by Charles Fourier, a French utopian
philosopher of the 19th Century. Fourier advocated that care
and co-operation were the secrets of social success and he
devised apartment complexes where people should ideally
live, the so-called Phalanstres. Fouriers ideas led to various

were lying side by side on one side of the


street. They were all covered with blood and
some were groaning as they died. Roche
recognised Emile and Rino with whom he
had talked only a few minutes earlier and a
worker he knew well, Joseph Wesolowiez.
All were beyond help.
Noting that heavy shooting had been
heard, the gendarmes report gives the precise timing of this second killing 12.15 p.m.
As has been explained above, the report
does not mention the earlier shooting and is
somewhat confused about the later massacre:
We learnt afterwards that the several persons who had been arrested by German
authorities after the attack against them have
been shot at the same place where the attack
had been committed.
The Germans were eager to make sure
that their reprisals were widely known so
they ordered that the bodies of the hostages
should remain where they lay for 48 hours.
Meanwhile, stunned townspeople remained
indoors throughout the afternoon. Ugine
was a dead town, Albert Sauvanet noted as
he returned to his quarters.
The mayor of Ugine, Lon Ecoffet, was
away from the town that fateful June 5 as he
had been up in the mountains in the early
morning to try to settle a dispute over
boundary stones. His absence at such a critical time was unfortunate for he was an exofficer of the French army and he might have
been able to reason with the Germans, at
least as far as the later killing. High in the
mountain, he heard the explosion and saw
the large pall of smoke drifting over the rail-

way station but he did not think that this was


something requiring his immediate attention.
Word of the drama reached him about midday and fortunately someone looking for him
soon arrived on a motorcycle. On the way
back, Ecoffet passed several groups of men
escaping to hide in the mountains. He first
called at the Gendarmerie where he was told
roughly what had happened but, as he wrote
later in an unofficial report, no precise detail
was known about the explosion, the German
victims, the arrests or the executions, and
panic was complete.
It was about 1.30 p.m. when he finally
reached the German quarters. Violence and
rage were at paroxysm, he said, and at first
the German commander simply refused to
see him. He waited for 20 minutes before the
enraged German appeared in the yard of the
school. Look what your population has
done!,. he shouted, as two men frog-marched me to the boiler room where the dismembered bodies of the German soldiers
had been lined up. I must say that the scene
was horrible.
Ecoffet vehemently argued that the population was not responsible but the German
retorted that if the Commander had been
there, it was not just 40 inhabitants who
whould have been shot, but 100 more.
(Ecoffet did not note if the German was
referring to the I. Bataillon commander,
Hauptmann Schulz, or the 1. Kompanie commander, Oberleutnant Rassi, but he himself
ended his report accusing both of them.) The
German stated that he was now going to
destroy the buildings at Les Corres, which

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G. GAUTARD

The news that the Germans were taking


and executing hostages was slow in reaching
the centre of town and about midday at the
Place des Fontaines, 200 metres from the
railway station, Rgis Roche had still not
heard of it. He was standing in the street in
front of the bakery discussing with two
young loggers, Emile Calvi and Rino Regazzoni, the wood he needed for heating his parents house. He walked with them towards
the bus stop as they were waiting to go to
Faverges. He saw some Germans coming in
their direction and, though he had no particular reason to worry, he turned back to
return to the bakery. The two loggers kept
walking towards the bus stop.
The Germans had obviously not had
enough blood and the second round of
reprisals, two hours after the first one, probably resulted from orders received from the
battalion or company commander to kill a
given number of hostages. The Germans
grabbed those waiting for the AnnecyAlbertville bus and more as they stepped
down from the bus when it arrived. These
men were shot on the spot. It was about a
quarter past midday.
A few metres away but out of sight
beyond the corner of the crossroads Rgis
Roche was still on the street when he heard
several bursts of sub-machine guns. He
quickly took shelter inside the bakery. A few
minutes later, after the only German in sight
standing in the middle of the crossroads had
left, Mr Donzel, the baker, cautiously ventured out of cover. Roche followed him,
together with two other men. Nine bodies

social experiments in France and Brazil and also took root in


the US, inspiring the founding of several communities, such as
La Reunion near Dallas, Texas, and Utopia in the state of Ohio.
Right: With no regard for their social importance, the Germans
blew up the three buildings and then threw in incendiary
grenades to set the remains on fire.

Left: Having pictured the tragic crater, the unknown German


photographer then took this photo of the ruined Phalanstre
complex, still smouldering. The three buildings comprised 40
apartments each, i.e. a total of 120 dwellings, and the German

act of retaliation deprived some 500 people of everything they


possessed. Right: Only two apartment flats were rebuilt at Les
Corres, and then on a much smaller scale. Towering in the
background is Mount Charvin, 2,407 metres high.
47

28 HOSTAGES SHOT ON JUNE 5, 1944


Name

Age

Place of Birth

Profession

Domicile

Franois Baroni
Emile Calvi
Angelo Capelli
Arezki Chali
Albert Convers
Auguste Coutaz
Rinaldo Cristina
Wladimir De Ghekoff
Victor Deval
Pierre Genve
Adolphe Golliet-Mercier
Marius Junod
Rabah Kaddouri
Lodovic Kogut
Pierre Kubicki
Marcel Losserand-Madoux
Gaston Maniglier
Rinaldo Martinato
Celestino Olivetti
Giovanni Pandolfi
Pietro Pandolfi
Armand Perrier
Tomatz Pierczonka
Louis Regazzoni
Rino Regazzoni
Andr Rousset
Giosu Trapletti
Joseph Wesolowiez

33 years
18 years
49 years
24 years
17 years
25 years
32 years
49 years
68 years
21 years
31 years
53 years
48 years
35 years
42 years
35 years
28 years
23 years
34 years
46 years
21 years
28 years
41 years
42 years
17 years
18 years
33 years
49 years

Serraval, Haute-Savoie
Saint-Rmy, Savoie
Berbenno, Italy
Beni Oughlis, Algeria
Annecy, Haute-Savoie
Marthod, Savoie
Agrate, Italy
Kursk, Russia
Nus, Italy
Seynod, Haute-Savoie
Manigod, Haute-Savoie
Aoste, Italy
Tizi Ouzou, Algeria
Dabrowa, Poland
Podworance, Poland
Faverges, Haute-Savoie
Doussard, Haute-Savoie
Argentine, Savoie
Cantoira, Italy
Urgnano, Italy
Urgnano, Italy
Ugine, Savoie
Liski, Poland
Santa-Brigida, Italy
Santa-Brigida, Italy
Annecy, Haute-Savoie
Albino, Italy
Siedlic, Poland

logger
logger
worker
worker
chimney-sweep
farmer
worker
office clerck
worker
school teacher
logger
worker
worker
worker
worker
farmer
butcher
logger
foreman
worker
worker
worker
worker
logger
logger
chimney-sweep
logger
worker

Faverges
Marlens
Ugine
Ugine
Annecy
Marthod
Faverges
Ugine
Ugine
Seynod
Faverges
Ugine
Ugine
Ugine
Ugine
Faverges
Doussard
Faverges
Saint-Ferrol
Marlens
Marlens
Queige
Ugine
Marlens
Marlens
Annecy
Marlens
Ugine

The grim toll of the Ugine retaliations. The details as to birth,


profession and place of residence are as given in the death register in the Town Hall that was drawn up on June 6, 1944. At
first Tomatz Pierczonka could not be identified so the Gendarmes just recorded that he was dressed in striped grey
trousers, a grey shirt and red jumper, bareheaded, without

48

coffins. Supervised by the Gardes, a label


with a serial number was affixed to each coffin, the names were listed and several copies
made of this list. Albert Sauvanet was there
again and he later remembered how the
smell in the garage was hardly bearable: We
were in June and it was very hot.

He also described how the parish priest,


Father Jay, came to bless the bodies. He
asked me if I could take off the wedding ring
of M. Maniglier so that he could give it to his
wife who had asked for it, which I did. Mrs
Barat confirms that a few days after the
tragedy, the priest brought personal belong-

ATB

were a haunt of terrorists, and, to protect


their own quarters, they would demolish
houses close to the school from which attacks
might come. The Mayors efforts to reason
with the commander were in vain; the only
concession being a stay of 24 hours so that
people living in the buildings to be destroyed
could salvage their possessions.
Later that afternoon, Ecoffet was summoned by the German commander who
directed him to remove the bodies still lying
in the street before the curfew hour of 9 p.m.
He instructed that no member of the families
could view the bodies and that they must be
buried in the evening of the next day with no
one but himself attending. He was told that
any demonstration would be repressed with
the strongest vigour as German troops had
been given orders to fire without warning. As
a result, I was left with only two hours to
take care of the bodies and identify them,
and take them into a closed place.
From about 7 p.m. that evening, Gendarmes and Gardes retrieved the bodies and
took them to Paul Ferts garage at Les
Fontaines, just across the street from where
the second shootings had taken place. They
used the ambulance from the steel mill to
transport the victims of the first shootings,
some distance away. Albert Sauvanet was at
the garage where he saw the bodies being
aligned side by side on the floor.
The Gendarme report stated that only one
body had not been identified, not having
identity documents and being unrecognisable. Items of clothing from this man and
one of his shoes were retained in order to
pursue inquiries later.
The next day at 4 p.m., the official report
states, we [the gendarmes] went to Les
Fontaines to have the bodies put into

jacket and identity papers, one key. The proportionally large


number of victims not born in France is explained by the fact
that for decades the large steelworks by 1940 it had a workforce of 3,500 was recruiting many workers from far-away
places. Also, Italians historically came to work in Savoie, just
across the Alps.

Of the 28 hostages shot on June 5, 11 now remain buried together, side by side in the
middle of the Ugine cemetery. The other 17 have been moved to family graves elsewhere. Incidentally, many of the details of the Ugine drama appeared in Les Montagnards de la nuit, a novel by Roger Frison-Roche and published in 1968. A well-known
author of mountain and adventure books, he had been a Resistance fighter in Savoie
in 1944.

P. MAYEN

P. MAYEN

ings from her brother: a handkerchief, the


wedding ring, a wallet and a knife.
The Gendarme report goes on to specify
that at 7 p.m. the coffins were taken to the
cemetery in lorries from the steel mill. The
burials took place at 8 p.m. and we organised
guards to prevent any demonstrations.
Everything went quietly and no incidents
were reported.
Earlier on the afternoon of June 6, the residents having evacuated their belongings as
best they could, the Germans blew up the
three blocks of flats at Les Corres, setting
the ruins on fire. They also set fire to House
Mollier and House Troccaz close to the
school where they had their quarters. Mayor
Ecoffet managed to save two nearby houses
that the Germans planned to demolish as
well, arguing that the blaze might set the
school on fire. Emergency accommodation
had to be found for the 500 persons made
homeless, a difficult task, noted Ecoffet,
for we had few men to help, almost all of
them having escaped to the mountains.
The Gendarmerie then began official
investigations to identify those responsible.
We interrogated several people who were
near the scene of the attack but none could
give us any information facilitating our
research. However, reading between the
lines, it appears that in fact they did their
best to implicate no one, fabricating innocuous answers for those they interrogated.
Michel Ands, chief of the railway station:
At no time did we see strangers near the
platform or the station building. I cannot
therefore give you any information about
this explosion. Petrus Devance, station
employee: I did not see at this time any individual circulating near the station and I cannot therefore provide any useful information. Andr Mtral, station employee: I did

strove to give his son a decent burial and he immediately undertook to recover him in order to bury him respectfully with the
family present. Rinaldos remains were disinterred on June 29,
less than a month after the drama, together with those of
Giosu, Antonios son-in-law. They now repose side by side in a
family grave by the old church of Viuz near Faverges.

ATB

Giosu Trapletti (left), born May 4, 1911, and Rinaldo Martinato


(right), born June 3, 1921, were brothers-in-law. They were two
of the loggers arriving from Faverges on the morning of June 5
when their lorry was stopped about 9 a.m. by enraged Germans.
One hour later, they were shot together with 17 other innocent
hostages. Right from the beginning, Rinaldos father Antonio

not see any individual behind the station or


thereabouts nor in the small wood near the
river. I cannot therefore provide any information useful to your search. Camille Vnera, grocer: I did not see any individual
behind my house or in the woods near the
River Chaise after this incident, so I am not
able to provide you with any information
that could help your search. Gaston Andr,
miller: During the Sunday evening and yesterday morning in the early hours, I did not
notice anything unusual and I did not see any
foreign person around my house.

Among the personal belongings recovered from the hostages by the Gendarmes and subsequently returned to
the next-of-kin was this wallet belonging
to Giosu Trapletti. A foreigners circulation permit dated 1943 (he was Italianborn), a fishing club member card for
1943, and a pious picture of Mary
moving pieces of a life so suddenly and
brutally terminated. Giosus widow
kept the relics until she died in 2006; the
wallet is now treasured by Giosus
daughter, Pierrine.
49

ATB

G. GAUTARD

Left: The 11 Ordnungspolizei men killed at Ugine were buried


in the German section of the Aix-les-Bains cemetery. The town
was a long-time spa and the Germans used the available facilities there to establish a hospital where wounded and seriously
ill soldiers were treated. Consequently, there was also a size-

able cemetery where those who died in the hospital were


buried. Right: The former German section is today Plot 6. Trees
now hide the houses along Chemin des Jardins and we took
our photo a bit more to the right from where the photographer
of 1944 stood.

LIBERATION
Following calls to action broadcast by the
BBC on June 6, several thousand men of the
Resistance took to the mountains of Savoie
following pre-arranged plans, and on June 10
the Chief of the Renseignements Gnraux
in Savoie sent an alarming report to Vichy:

According to Mrs Barat, the German


police unit left Ugine three days after the
drama, apparently for Annecy to where their
wounded had already been moved. By then,
few men remained fit for action: originally
about 35 strong, 12 had been killed and 20
wounded.

The situation in the Albertville sector has


become unstable and critical since the
Anglo-Saxon landing in Normandy . . . Upon
news of the landing, several thousand men
took refuge in the mountains, members of
resistance groups, FTP, AS, etc, but also
young men not belonging to any group. Since

Rank

Age

Grave

Georg Dassinger
Georg Schill
Joachim Molineus
Albert Reitmair
Erich Petermann
Franz Wilk
Josef Hfer
Alfred Faisst
Helmut Bldow

Unterwachtmeister der Schutzpolizei


Unterwachtmeister der Schutzpolizei
Unterwachtmeister der Schutzpolizei
Wachtmeister der Schutzpolizei
Wachtmeister der Schutzpolizei
Unterwachtmeister der Schutzpolizei
Wachtmeister der Schutzpolizei
Oberwachtmeister der Schutzpolizei
Zugwachtmeister der Schutzpolizei

42 years
41 years
37 years
35 years
35 years
38 years
48 years
30 years
31 years

Block 2, Grave 2
Block 2, Grave 3
Block 2, Grave 4
Block 2, Grave 5
Block 2, Grave 6
Block 2, Grave 7
Block 2, Grave 8
Block 2, Grave 9
Block 2, Grave 10

C. CHEVALIER

Name

C. CHEVALIER

C. CHEVALIER

NINE OF THE 11 GERMANS KILLED ON JUNE 5, 1944

In 1952, the German soldiers buried at Aix-les-Bains were among


the first to be transferred to the German War Cemetery then being
created at Dagneux, 20 kilometres north-east of Lyon. The cemetery concentrated all German graves from miscellaneous burial
grounds in south-eastern France and today comprises about
20,000 graves. Nine of the policemen killed at Ugine on June 5
now rest side by side in Block 2, Graves 2 to 10. In spite of exten50

sive research, we could not find the whereabouts of the other two
men. Their graves are not in proximity of the nine, nor with the
other batches of graves transferred from Aix-les-Bains (the German Kriegsgrberfrsorge archives have only an uncompleted list
of these movements). Was their identity lost during the transfer in
the 1950s and are they now buried as unknown, or have their
graves simply gone astray in a far corner of the cemetery?

ATB

The memorial at the foot of the railway embankment marking the spot where 19 of the
28 hostages were shot about 10 a.m. on June 5; it is also the place where the 11 German
policemen were killed. Another memorial stands by the side of the Les Fontaines junction, at the spot where the nine hostages were shot at 12.15 p.m. (see back cover).
range, north-east of Chambry, and the 400
resistance fighters in that area had to pull
back after having lost 17 men. In addition,
the Germans shot 16 loggers after having
found a sub-machine gun hidden in the
chalet where they lived.
On June 21, a group of about 60 FTP from
the companies based at Ugine and
Albertville attacked the German customs
post at Beaufort, in the mountains about 15
kilometres east of Ugine. They soon overwhelmed the German party of 16 men. Five
Germans were killed and one FTP. The
attackers pulled away with eight prisoners
(three wounded Germans and one badly
wounded FTP were sent down to the hospital
in Albertville). The Germans reacted swiftly
on the next day and surrounded 35 of the
partisans in the mountains. Taking them
down to the valley, 31 were shot at Grignon
on the 23rd, the other four men being
deported to Germany.
The Germans launched another operation
in the Bauges in July, killing over 30 civilians,

SEQUEL
The Resistance action which took place at
Ugine on June 5 resulted in killing 11 Germans and wounding another 20 but cost the
lives of 28 innocent civilians. While some
rejoiced at the blow struck at the Germans,
its consequence was too painful to be simply
accepted by the townspeople. As in any
occupied country in Europe, appreciations
differed, and still differ today. France was at
war and should fight on, wherever and whenever possible, to help the Allies in defeating
the Germans . . . but what was gained by
local attacks against Germans when they
resulted in heavy civilian casualties against
little or no military results?
At Ugine today, two memorials, and the
graves in the local cemetery, recall the deaths
of the hostages and a memorial service is
held each year on June 5.

ATB

G. APRIMO

then, attacks have been committed mainly


against railways and telegraph and telephone
networks. The bridge on the AlbertvilleMoutiers railway line has been blown up (on
June 7) where it crossed the main highway,
interrupting all communications. The telephone and telegraph network have also been
disrupted . . .
The town of Albertville is said to be completely surrounded by those groups which
have taken to the woods and deployed in the
mountains overlooking the town. Among
them would be strongly armed bands. To
counter this situation, the German authorities have reacted immediately. On Wednesday, June 7, between 8.30 p.m. and 10 p.m.,
German troops fired artillery shots in several
directions in the mountains where armed
groups are thought to be. On Thursday, June
8, they made several arrests around
Albertville and, according to information, six
men have been shot at Tours-sur-Isre.
Between June 7 and 10, the Germans conducted a large sweep in the Bauges mountain

but by August 1 they had lost control of the


situation and they were powerless to react
when over 70 B-17s of the US Eighth Air
Force dropped 900 containers of desperately
needed arms at Les Saisies, ten kilometres
east of Ugine. There were sufficient weapons
and ammunition to equip 3,000 resistance
fighters. (This drop was part of the larger
Operation Buick carried out by 195 aircraft
of the 3rd Air Division, a total of 2,281 containers being dropped over four drop zones at
Salornay in Sane-et-Loire, Echallon in Ain,
Les Saisies in Savoie, and Glires in HauteSavoie see After the Battle No. 105.)
Sabotage and attacks against the Germans
continued throughout Savoie in August as the
Resistance progressively took control of the
strategic Tarentaise valley. When the Allies
landed in the Riviera on August 15, the Germans quickly pulled back from southern
France (see After the Battle No. 110). While
the main body of the German forces withdrew
northwards, other troops fell back on the
Alps. In Savoie, harried by the Resistance
which was repeatedly attacking convoys and
cutting road, rail and telephone lines, the Germans evacuated Aix-les-Bains on the evening
of the 21st, and Chambry during the following night. They abandoned Albertville on the
23rd and pulled back through the Tarentaise
and Maurienne valleys with the Resistance at
their heels. Finally, German forces reached
the passes and fortifications which lined the
border between France and Italy. There, they
halted and faced westwards (see After the Battle No. 97).

Left: Every year on June 5, a memorial service is held at Ugine to


remember the victims of the German reprisals. This picture was
taken on the 50th anniversary in 1994 at the Les Fontaines memorial, which lists the names of all the 28 victims. Right: A memorial

near the Town Hall commemorates the sons of Ugine who died as
soldiers in the First and Second World Wars. A separate plaque
names the 20 FFI Resistance men who died fighting the Germans
in 1943-44, and the five who did not return from deportation.
51