Interviewee: André Richard
Interviewer: David P. Boder
Recordist: David P. Boder
Other: Bertha Goldwasser
Transcriber: P. Gaensicke
Transcriber: A. Leclerc
Transcriber: S. Peters
Translator: P. Gaensicke
Translator: A. Leclerc
Translator: S. Peters
Annotator: Elliot Lefkovitz
Writer of added commentary: Elliot Lefkovitz
Editor: Eben E. English
Creation location: Jewish Committee home for adult Jewish refugees
André Richard was a talented singer in the renowned Paris Opera as well as an intrepid member of the French resistance during the German occupation. Mr. Richard shows himself to be a sincere and dedicated French patriot as he recounts his exploits as a lieutenant in the resistance movement during those dangerous times. He took part in a number of daring exploits at great personal risk—the risk of arrest, torture and death in a country where the Gestapo, Vichy French collaborators and the threat of denunciation by ordinary citizens put resisters in great peril. As he recounts, "I have never known any assignment that was not a dangerous one during the occupation . . . very often I came back alone when twenty of us had gone."
Mr. Richard has great admiration for the proud, autocratic General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French forces during the war. Like de Gaulle, Mr. Richard was above all a French nationalist. His nationalism is of the liberal variety, rejecting xenophobia, intolerance and racism. He does not reveal sympathy for any particular resistance political organization, whether it be communist, socialist or Catholic. Indeed, he appears to be apolitical and anti-clerical. Mr. Richard's admiration for resistance leaders extends to those under whom he served, Colonel Goise, Major Borde, and Captain Allard, whose bravery and leadership qualities he is at pains to applaud.
Mr. Richard clearly shows sympathy for the plight of the Jews under German occupation, though there is no indication he was involved in Jewish rescue efforts. As might be expected, he scorns those who collaborated with the Germans but does not call for revenge or retribution. Rather he remains dedicated to the ideals of the French Revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity.
The interview illustrates the fact that, although they were a small minority, there was a core of active resisters in France who fought against the German occupiers for their own liberation. Though they could not defeat the enemy on their own, they did set a timeless example of courage and selflessness during a dark and hazardous time.