The Song of the Partisans

Manuscrit original du Chant des partisans rédigé par Maurice Druon et Joseph Kessel. Source : Musée de la Légion d’honneur.
Manuscrit original du Chant des partisans rédigé par Maurice Druon et Joseph Kessel. Source : Musée de la Légion d’honneur.
Corps 1

Spring of 1943. A group of freedom-loving young artists want to put the courage of the fighters of the shadows into song.

Joseph Kessel. Source : photo DMPA

Joseph Kessel, a wild-haired giant, talks to a slender, pale boy, Maurice Druon. Alongside them stands Anna Marly, the beautiful singer of the Resistance.

Anna Marly. Source : Photo CMMAT

They have already met. They have been looking for some time for words and an air for an iconic song. They finally found what they were looking for.

Birth of the Song of the Partisans. Anna Marly sings before the BBC microphones.

The air will be sung by the resistance all over France: it was to become the anthem of the liberation.

Corps 2

Original score of the Song of the Partisans. Source: CMMA photo

”Friend do you hear ... ” And the song still lasts. Not only in our memories, but also to our ears: a cover version was recently recorded by a group from Toulouse.

A reference yesterday for the freedom fighters, a reference today for young musicians, this anthem of the Resistance bears in it the values of freedom, dignity, courage, exemplary, all are values that the Secretariat of State for Veterans wishes to convey to the nation's children and adolescents.

The lyrics of the Song of the Partisans

”All that remains of the original is the idea, the cut and the crows. But the words are beautiful, they fit into my music”. Joseph Kessel to Ana Marly, 30 May, 1943

Friend do you hear the dark flight of the crows on our plains.

Friend, do you hear the cries of the country in chains,

Hey you partisans workers and peasants, the alarm has sounded!

Tonight the enemy shall know the price of blood and tears

Arise from the mines, come down from the hills, comrades.

Take from the straw, the guns, munitions and grenades.

Hey! the killers with bullet and knife, strike swiftly!

Hey! you saboteurs take care with your load of dynamite!

It is us who smash the bars of prisons for our brothers.

With hatred chasing us and hunger driving us, what misery.

There are countries where people are in bed and have dreams.

Here as you can see, we are walking and we kill, and we die

Here, everyone knows what he wants, what he does, when he goes

Friend, if you fall, a friend comes from the shadows to take your place.