The Mussidanese Resistance fighters: from the forest of the Double to the borders of Quercy

21 May 1944 : sweep operation of the SS Das Reich Division in the Gavaudun valley. Roundup of 118 people including 47 men from the village of Lacapelle-Biron (Lot-et-Garonne). 26 returned from the death camps.

6 June 1944: the resistance fighters of Mussidanais leave their camp of Marminac (Lot). The Allies land in Normandy.

In this spring 1944, fleeing the exactions of the Brehmer division, the groups commanded by Robert Crouzille, Jean Mignon and Marcel Arnault join the confines of the Dordogne where they feel safer to reorganize their numbers. They took up positions in Lacapelle-Biron (Lot-et-Garonne), Besse (Dordogne) and Marminiac (Lot) until the Allied landing in Normandy on 6 June 1944. The Mussidanese then established contacts with communist resistance fighters from the Lot-et-Garonne who provided the Périgourdins with intelligence and logistical support.

Their numbers grew with the arrival of many volunteers. We can mention Jean Vitrac (Jeannot) who joined the resistance on 20 April 1944. Fleeing Toulouse where he was posted to an arms factory as part of the STO, he went to his native hamlet of La Brame (commune of Vergtde-Biron). He knew that he could find refuge in the surrounding farms and benefit from the support of the population, which fed him and hid him.

Jacques Chapet, a young Parisian who had been living with his grandparents in Villefranche-du-Périgord since the beginning of the war, joined the Roland group on 18 May 1944. Others, such as André Balès, Roger Wagner and the brothers Robert and Yves Cavaillé, from the village of Blanquefort-sur-Briolance (Lot-et-Garonne), joined the Roland group following reprisal actions by the enemy. On 21 May 1944, the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division carried out a major sweep in the Gavaudun valley. In the village of Lacapelle-Biron, 18 men between 18 and 60 years old were arrested. Not all of them were resistance fighters. 54 lived in Lacapelle. Taken to Agen, they were deported to Dachau and Mauthaüsen. Of the Capelains, only 26 returned.

With these new members, the 4th FTPF battalion of the Dordogne was created in May 1944. Assisted by Jean-Florian Collin (Doctor) and Henri Darré (Arthur), Henri Borzeix commanded the new unit. It integrated a detachment of the Lot-et-Garonne commanded by Gérard Thomas (Didier). The latter decided to return to Lot-et-Garonne when the Allies landed.

During their stay in Marminiac (Lot), the men of the 4th Battalion were visited by a certain « Colonel Berger », the famous writer André Malraux. Presenting himself as the head of an important inter-allied Command Post (CP), he tried to rally them to his cause. The maquisards, who belonged to the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (FTP) organisation, refused his proposal.

Until their departure from the sector, they multiplied their actions: requisitioning vehicles, recovering the funds necessary to feed the group from banks, attacking collaborators.

Course of the FTP maquis of La Double from 26 March to 6 June 1944, according to Christian Michaud, known as Zazou.