Tribute to the Prefect Jean Moulin - 17 June 2015 in the Panthéon

Running of the ceremony

A drumroll breaks the silence. Sung by the choir of the French army, the Chant des Partisans rings out in the crypt of the Panthéon. A wave of emotion sweeps through the crown gathered on this June 17 morning. This emblematic venue in the Latin quarter is today hosting the ceremony in tribute to Jean Moulin.


On June 17, 1940, the young prefect performed his first act of resistance by refusing to obey the injunctions of the Wehrmacht. 75 years later, Jean-Marc Todeschini, Secretary of State for Veterans, representatives from the national Resistance and Deportation associations, the City Hall of Bordeaux and the National Association of the Friends of Jean Moulin paid tribute to the Resistance pioneer.



In the first line were such resistant personalities as Louis Cortot, Pierre Morel and Daniel Cordier (Photo), and standing next to a huge portrait of Jean Moulin, a large school delegation from L'Aquitaine and Salon-de-Provence.


It is thanks to the drive of the highly active Franck Belis, national Secretary of the Association of the Friends of Jean Moulin and a History teacher at Alain Fournier secondary school in Bordeaux, that these pupils along with their teachers were able to travel to Paris to attend the ceremony.


Alongside pupils from the Anatole France school in Cadillac, the Cassignol and Camille Jullian secondary schools in Bordeaux and as part of the partnership with the Association, classes are held under the academic trinomials of L'Aquitaine, under the responsibility of Colonel Marc. 


The young Ileana Scamps, 15 years old, surrounded by six of her classmates won the privilege in a draw of representing the Alain Fournier school in Bordeaux. Winner of the CNRD 2015 competition, it was she who, at the opening of the ceremony, read a text recalling the memory of Jean Moulin, watched by her very emotionally moved grandfather and mother.


"I was very impressed by the solemnity of the place she said, this was completely different to the idea I had of the Panthéon. But as regards Jean Moulin, in history class with our teacher Mr. Belis, when studying the Second World War, we worked a lot beforehand on his life and that of other members of the Resistance. To present the CNRD competition, I chose a topic telling the story of a Dachau deportee who returns to his family"


Mr. Franck Belis added "when I told them about the CNRD, I always wanted to stress the notion of commitment, just as in my teaching in fact, drawing a parallel with the fate of the young resistance fighters who fought at the risk of their lives. It is an absolutely essential value to transmit to pupils.


The ceremony ends with a minute of meditation near the tomb of Jean Moulin, covered with wreaths, and a small group formed around Daniel Cordier, Jean Moulin's former Secretary. The venerable 94-year old gentleman's eyes glowed as he recalled his memories of "the man in the shadow" and he replied with great modesty to the questions from the youth.


Questions galore and even more questions came later on in the afternoon as the tour continued in the Army Museum for some and in the Senate for others.


For these students, this day will be now be remembered as much more that a school trip to Paris. It will be remembered as an encounter with history and its witnesses, one more step on their way to becoming young citizens.


Ministry of defence - SGA/DMPA/SDMAE/BAPI - © Report and iconographic source: Marie-Christine Caubet