Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Frenay, Henri (1905–1988)

French army officer and Resistance leader. Born in Lyons on 19 November 1905, Henry Frenay graduated from the French Military Academy of Saint Cyr. A captain in 1940, he fought and was captured by the Germans in the Battle of the Vosges. He escaped on 27 June 1940 and made his way to Marseilles, where he became a Vichy garrison officer. Regarded as an expert on the Third Reich because of his studies at the Centre d' Études Germaniques at Strasbourg, Frenay was attached to the military intelligence division. He soon came to realize that the Vichy regime, headed by Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain, was intent on collaboration with the Germans. By early 1941, Frenay had become involved in the Resistance, creating the Mouvement de Libération Nationale, which produced three clandestine newspapers.

In November 1941, Frenay's publications merged with another, published by Fran=ois de Menthon, to become Combat, the largest Resistance group in France. Frenay, code-named "Charvet," also pioneered most of the techniques used within the French Resistance. Frenay, a staunch anticommunist who had little time for any prewar French political grouping, was initially suspicious of the directing role which London-based Free French leader Charles de Gaulle claimed within the Resistance. Although Frenay eventually accepted de Gaulle's authority, his relationship with Jean Moulin, de Gaulle's representative in France, was strained. He distrusted Moulin's achievement in creating a fusion of the French Resistance groups, the National Council of the Resistance, although he eventually joined it.

In June 1943, the German military arrested most of the top French political and military Resistance leadership, including Moulin. Frenay fled to Algiers on 19 June to request additional support from the newly created French National Liberation Council. Concerned for his safety, Free French representatives persuaded him to remain, and in November 1943 Frenay became Free French minister of prisoners, deportees, and refugees, a position he retained for a further year after returning to Paris with de Gaulle in 1944.

In 1945 he went into business, representing the French film industry until 1958 and holding various directorships. Frenay was a legendary figure in France, and his memoir, The Night Will End, not published until 30 years after the war, was a best-seller in France. Frenay died at Porto Vecchio, Corsica, on 6 August 1988.

Priscilla Roberts


Further Reading
Frenay, Henri. The Night Will End: Memoirs of a Revolutionary. New York: McGraw Hill, 1976.; Kedward, H. R. Resistance in Vichy France: A Study of Ideas and Motivations in the Southern Zone, 1940–1942. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978.; Kedward, H. R. In Search of the Maquis: Rural Resistance in Southern France, 1942–1944. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.; Michel, Henri. The Shadow War: European Resistance 1939–1945. New York: Harper, 1972.; Ousby, Ian. Occupation: The Ordeal of France 1940–1944. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.
 

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