"The Massif Central will be the heart of the Resistance when it comes"


Members of the Maquis in 1944
Public DomainMembers of the Maquis in 1944 - Credit: Donald I. Grant

One such group was the Maquis du Limousin, which began operations by blowing up a power plant near Ussel in June 1942.

The word maquis derived from the Corisican word macchia, the term for the Corsican scrub and woodland landscape.  Resistance fighters were known as maquisards.

The number of maquisards increased dramatically as a result of Laval's introduction of the Relève scheme on 22 June 1942, sending French workers to Germany in exchange for French prisoners of war. Five workers were demanded for each POW (later reduced to three workers for one POW). In total, 4.5 million workers were sent to Germany, where they laboured under appalling conditions.  The alternative, joining the Maquis, became very attractive.



The Massif Central
Creative Commons AttributionThe Massif Central - Credit: untipografico, Flickr