Joseph Darnand

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Joseph Darnand (1940)

Aimé-Joseph Darnand (born March 19, 1897 in Coligny , Ain department , † October 10, 1945 in Châtillon , Hauts-de-Seine department ) was a French officer. During the Vichy regime in 1943 he became head of the paramilitary Milice française and fought the Resistance .


Joseph Darnand was the son of a railroad worker and grew up in modest circumstances, shaped by the Catholic Church . In 1913 he broke off the college in Bourg-en-Bresse prematurely and returned to Coligny to complete a three-year apprenticeship as a carpenter . During the First World War , Darnand was drafted into the army and on January 8, 1916, assigned to the 35e regiment d'infanterie . After the war he initially worked as a carpenter , later setting up his own transport company in Nice . During the Popular Front government , he was involved in the right-wing extremist political wing in Action française . When some of his friends in Action française were eager to carry out militant right-wing extremist political actions, they founded the secret terrorist organization named Cagoule in 1935 , in which Darnand participated. As a volunteer he took part in the Second World War in the Maginot Line , was taken prisoner of war and was able to escape to Nice.

During the German occupation of France , the Légion française des combattants , the war veterans' organization, had existed since autumn 1940 , and Darnand was a member of its management committee . Together with high officers of the French Army, he recruited disappointed fighters in the late summer of 1941, who, out of loyalty to Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain in the Alpes-Maritimes department, founded a secret military organization called Service d'ordre légionnaire (SOL), which was used against further Italian aggression French territory should be used. By the end of 1941 it had developed into a serious armed force outside the armistice army, which received the official blessing of the Vichy regime in January 1942 to protect France against external and internal aggression.

Towards the end of the summer of 1942, Darnand recruited volunteers for the Légion des volontaires français contre le bolchévisme (LVF) or Légion anti-bolchévique or Légion tricolore , where French volunteers in German uniforms fought against the Soviet Union . When it became clear to him that in January 1943 militants from the rival collaboration parties Parti populaire français (PPF) and Rassemblement national populaire (RNP) were trying to form combat troops to combat resistance , Darnand restructured the SOL into the Milice française .

Prime Minister Pierre Laval , who found himself without power in the face of polemical disputes with other militant collaborators , had obtained Hitler's permission in December 1942 to form a force at his personal disposal. Therefore, Laval viewed the milice as his personal power base, which was commanded by Darnand, who saw himself primarily as a retainer of the aged marshal.

As head of the Milice Française, he became State Secretary in January 1943. In August of the same year he was appointed Sturmbannführer of the Waffen SS . In the dual function of State Secretary for Security and Public Order and Chief of the Milice, he organized a campaign against the Resistance . His nephew Robert Darnand was deported to the Neuengamme concentration camp as a member of the Resistance . In 1945 Joseph Darnand was captured by the Allies in Italy and extradited to France, where he awaited trial in Fresnes prison . On October 3, he was sentenced to death , and on October 10 shot . He was buried on the Paris Cimetière des Batignolles .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ André Brissaud (préf. Robert Aron), La Dernière année de Vichy (1943–1944), Paris, Librairie Académique Perrin, 1965, 587 p.
  2. Joseph Darnand: Graves directory (French)

Web links

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