Sabotage of a locomotive by the Resistance in 1944 at the Gavardies bridge, Beaupouyet commune.

The resistance is becoming more and more active: the prefect Popineau is worried

27th September 1943

« Public opinion is becoming worse and worse […] From being passive, it is becoming active in the anti-government direction. People are beginning to say out loud what they used to say in hushed tones and to defy what appears to many of them to be the vestiges of a regime that will not last.

31 January 1944

« The internal situation in the department continues to be particularly turbulent. Groups of rebels continue their operations with increasing audacity, because they see every day that the insignificant police force stationed in the Dordogne cannot worry them. The population, sometimes terrorised, but above all in favour of this « maquis », sometimes openly expressed its approval. Thus, in the course of the last week, a group of rebels seized, during the day and in the presence of 150 people, food titles in the commune of Terrasson. The gendarmes were alerted and immediately went to the scene. They were mocked by these 150 people who refused to give the number of the car in which the perpetrators of this attack had fled.

16 March 1944

« On several occasions, I have had the honour of drawing your attention to the terrorism which was raging in the Dordogne and of informing you of my fears that the situation would worsen if important measures were not taken as soon as possible. Unfortunately, events have confirmed these fears. The situation is becoming more and more worrying. Burglaries, thefts and assaults of all kinds are multiplying, as you can see from my daily reports. In almost the entire department, the outlaws are acting as masters, in bands of 20, 30, 40 individuals, under the powerless gaze of the police: their audacity is becoming greater and greater. The day before yesterday, in Saint-Pardoux, they organised a roadblock on the road, with machine guns and controlled the situation. The sub-prefect of Nontron was himself arrested and was only able to pass by by showing an identity card which did not show his profession. Yesterday, it was a supply car of the GMR* (Mobile Reserve Groups) which was arrested near Thiviers, and two guards disarmed. The number of assassinations is multiplying. I am sending you a list of them since 1 March. […] Not having any basis for calculation, it is very difficult to evaluate the number of outlaws. However, we can say that there are several thousand of them. Among them, and mainly in the communist FTP cadres, there were many Spaniards. In order to carry out operations which now go beyond the framework of police actions to become a real war enterprise, it is absolutely necessary to send to the Dordogne a large number of troops comprising at least two thousand men with powerful means […]. I insist very strongly on the seriousness of a situation which is becoming more alarming every day.

* GMR whose vocation is the maintenance of order.

Hearing of the head of the SD (Gestapo) in Périgueux, Michaël Hambrecht, who recounts the concern of the occupation authorities in the face of the growing strength of the Resistance in Dordogne in 1943 and 1944

« As soon as I arrived in the Dordogne, on 3 July 1943, the Dordogne was known as the worst place in the whole region of the Limoges Kommando. At first, until about spring 1944, the activity of the resistance movements was limited to actions of isolated individuals against members of the occupying troops and their installations, namely: armed attacks on isolated soldiers, sabotage of railways, especially of trains carrying German troops and materials, of German cars and trucks and of houses inhabited by German services. Thus, perhaps in October 1943, a bomb exploded in the house where our department was located. The perpetrators of these acts of sabotage always acted alone or in small groups. The repression of this activity could still be carried out effectively by means of police work and with the help of my own weak forces. But even in those days I was not able to fulfil my task one hundred per cent because of my too small staff. »