Armenian Women

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Archive for the category “militant”

Meline Manouchian (1913-1989)

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Militant in the French Resistance, Political Activist

Meline was born in 1913 in Constantinople – her maiden name was Asadurian . During the Genocide of 1915, at the age of 4 she lost her parents and ended up in an orphanage in Greece.

In 1926, the orphanage moved to Marseille and Meline continued her school there.

After graduating from high school she moved to Paris where she met her future husband the militant, Missak Manouchian. She was very active in the local Armenian community.  In 1938, she was elected as head of the Armenian French Democratic Union.

When the war started in 1939, and the Nazis occupied Paris, Melinee joined the French Resistance and started the struggle for freedom. She was responsible for secretly disseminating information and literature against the Nazis. She was often posting flyers and political pamphlets on the walls of residential buildings urging citizens to stand up against the occupation.

In 1943 she was arrested with her husband and other militants and sentenced to execution. Melinee, unlike her husband was able to flee from the prison later on and continued the struggle against Nazi Germany with her other companions until their victory.

She died in Paris in 1989.

The French poet, Paul Eluard was very impressed by the dedication of these people considered as the “strangers” coming from another country but ready to sacrifice their life for their adopted land, France. He wrote the following poem in their memory:

Si j’ai le droit de dire,
en français aujourd’hui,
Ma peine et mon espoir,
ma colère et ma joie
Si rien ne s’est voilé,
définitivement,
De notre rêve immense
et de notre sagesse

C’est que ces étrangers,
comme on les nomme encore,
Croyaient à la justice,
ici-bas, et concrète,
Ils avaient dans leur sang
le sang de leurs semblables
ces étrangers savaient
quelle était leur patrie

Source: http://www.manouchian.org/crbst_1.html

Armenian Women Encyclopedia I, Amaras, 2011

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