Résultat de recherche d'images pour "brossac logo"

Brossac Village

Brossac village has all one needs to compliment a stay in The Southwest of France

Brossac History

The Charente During WWII

Following the German invasion of France in May of 1940 and the subsequent split of the nation into so-called ‘free’ and ‘occupied’ zones, the region of Charente was cut in two by the demarcation line, which ran straight through Vienne, Charente, Dordogne, Gironde, and the Basses-Pyrénées. Of the five administrative regions of occupied France, Brossac and the rest of the occupied Charente fell into Région B, which had its German headquarters at Angers.
world war two brossac
 In 1942, in retaliation for the Allied campaign Operation Torch in North Africa, French and Italian forces invaded and occupied the so-called ‘free zones,’ reuniting all of France - and the two zones of the Charente - under a Nazi dictatorship until liberation by Allied forces in 1944.

Person of Interest: Camille Olivier

Camille Anatole Olivier (born 7 Dec. 1884) was the mayor of the canton of Brossac from 1935-1940, and also held the position of Conseiller Général of the Charente from 1934-1940 and again from 1945-1964. His first term for both positions was interrupted by a Nazi crackdown in the German Charente from 1940 until the end of the war, during which the positions of mayor and Conseiller Général were eliminated following a series of push-backs from the French Resistance in the region. Though Brossac had been under German control since June, local management had been allowed to remain, and it was not until after the August rebellions that the German High Command became the sole administrator of the region.
Camille Anatole Olivier
Olivier, however, was no stranger to war - he had served in the First World War from 1915 to 1918, and retained close ties to the French military and government throughout the remainder of his life. Before commencing his political career in 1925 (at which point he became the Conseiller d'Arrondissement of Charente), Olivier studied Agriculture and Geometry and became an agriculturalist on his farm in Brossac. In 1950, he was was made a Chevalier in the Légion d’Honneur for his work for the people of the Charente (and of Brossac in particular - it is referred to as his ‘petite partie charentaise’ in the official report), and in 1958 he made the rank of Officier. (Click here to read more about the Légion d’Honneur).

After the war, Olivier resumed his position as Conseiller Général of Charente, and by all accounts continued to serve the people of Brossac and all of the Charente wholeheartedly.
Click here for Olivier's official documents

Group of Interest: La Résistance in Chalais

The main resistance movement in the Charente during the war were the Maquis - rural bands of guerilla fighters that served as a liaison between different resistance groups such as the Resistance Fer (railway employees) and the Resistance de Sapeurs Pompiers (firefighters) in the South of France. While Claude Bonnier was in charge of training resistance fighters in the whole of South-West of France, Jacques Nantes was the man delegated to train saboteurs in the Charente, Charente-Maritime, and Bordeaux. The Maquis in Chalais were especially famed for one insurgency in particular which played out in early September of 1940, about two months after German occupation.

The Chalais Maquis' claim to fame centered around their prolific cutting of German telephone lines in the region, much to the annoyance of the Germans. Following an especially damaging stint on the 26th of August,  Colonel Kretschmann of the Nazi Army issued a statement  promising to ‘encore une fois prendre des sanctions contre les communes et leur population’ - implement further sanctions on the population of Charente (which, as it turned out, included the elimination of the positions of mayor and Conseiller Général, putting Camille Olivier out of a job). Any further vandalizing of German communications, Kretschmann decreed, was outlawed ‘sous peine de mort’ (under pain of death).

charente resistance

On August  28th, Alfred Ferrand, a Maquisard of Chalais, was beaten by German police for his participation in the August 26th operation and was found by his comrades on the road between Rue La Petitie and Rue Bouex. Ferrand, sadly, died in hospital from his wounds, inciting intense anger in Maquis circles. Then, five days later, another Maquis member by the name of Jean Ratouit was found beaten and left out in his fields at Chez Grosiac to die. Resentment in the Chalais Maquis reached its height. In early September, a new wave of cutting of communications took place, spurred by a desire to avenge the death of Ferrand and the beating of Ratouit.

The Germans, of course, were furious - with the help of the French police, an investigation was immediately launched into the operations of the Chalais Maquis, which proved surprisingly fruitless. Did the French police willingly turn a blind eye to the operations of Maquis, as a way of quietly rebelling against their German overlords? Or were the Chalais Maquis just particularly skilled in covering their tracks? Though we’ll never know for sure, the legend of the Maquis Chalais serves as a great testament to the people of this small region, and is one of the many inspiring stories of civilian resistance in the Second World War.

Event of Interest: Jewish Raids in the Charente and Limousin

Following the formulation and fine-tuning of the Nazi’s ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question’ at the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, a number of Jewish raids took place in the Charente and the neighboring region of Limousin, which is about 30 minutes away from Brossac by car. According to the AJPN (L’Organisation pour les Anonymes, Justes et Persécutés durant la période Nazie dans les communes de France), these raids were carried out by local German police forces under the command of the Regional Prefects (Préfets Régionaux) of the Charente and Limousin regions. From a police report sent by the General Secretary of Limoges police force (a town about two hours from Brossac), we discover that certain categories of Jewish people were in fact exempt from these raid orders - specifically, pregnant women, people over 60, and unaccompanied minors.

The Limousin raid took place on  26th of August 1942 and resulted in the capture and deportation of 446 Jews, 68 of whom were children. The captives were transported to a camp in Nexon, a town about half an hour south of Limoges, where they were then boarded onto transport headed for the town of Drancy (near Paris) three days later. From there, according to AJPN records, the detainees were then boarded onto convoyes labelled numbers 26 and 27, heading straight for Auschwitz.

french deportation of jews

A little over a month later, on the nights of October 8th and 9th, two more Jewish raids took place in the Charente. While the AJPN unfortunately has no records for the number of people deported in these raids, we can be sure that it devastated the lives of numerous Charentais, leaving deep scars in the region for years to come.

This article was researched and written by Aina Swartz a volunteer at La Giraudiere who was from the USA
References for this article.



Jacques Baudet et Hugues Marquis, La Charente en Guerre (1939-1945)

H. R. Kedward, In Search of the Maquis: Rural Resistance in Southern France
This website was produced by volunteers and interns from La Giraudiere. To read more about their contribution and how this subdomain was created, please visit Brossac Website Creators you will also find a link to our Site Map and our contact information
volunteers project in France

follow brossac on facebook add brossac to google tweet brossac on twitter

Brossac Village France Brossac Charente