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Day June 12, 2016

May ’68 Revisited

Editors’ Preface

Our friend and comrade Mitch Abidor recently spent weeks in France tracking down people who came of age politically in May 1968, to ask them how they viewed that experience, then and now. He went out of his way (with 1–2 exceptions) to talk to people “unknown,” in contrast to the “stars” who feature in so many accounts of May. He talked with anarchists, Trotskyists, Stalinists, and even anarchists who had become Stalinists later. We publish this short summary of his results in Insurgent Notes because we like his direct, unvarnished access to participants, while taking our distance from some of his interpretations, which are subject to debate. We (the editors of Insurgent Notes) found Mitch’s results sobering, if not downright deflating, because his subjects across the board say that the French working class in May 1968 was not revolutionary. Mitch “tells it like it is,” or as his subjects tell it, which is what we strive for (“the truth is always revolutionary”). Our disappointment is not in itself a criticism. May ’68, which has been called the “longest wildcat general strike in history,” was at the very least a mass strike in Rosa Luxemburg’s sense.

May has always been one (but only one) cornerstone of our belief that one day the international working class will “do it,” as for example the tens of millions of proletarians and sub-proletarians who are striking and rioting today in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and elsewhere. The proletariat is after all from the beginning an international class. “Socialism or barbarism” is still the order of the day. We disagree with what Mitch says about the French Communist Party (pcf), i.e., that the French working class “lost its home” with its decline. The downsizing of the pcf was part of an international deflation of Stalinism. That means that the revolutionary project, of which the pcf became the negation, will have to be re-invented, and is being reinvented. There is nothing to lament about the weakening of one major obstacle to that. We welcome readers’ responses and criticisms.

In May 2018 we will be fifty years from the events of May ’68 in France, as far from May as May was from the trenches of World War I. May ’68 seemed to portend the beginning of a revolutionary period in Europe, but it didn’t. Even so, in France and in so much of the world, it remains a marker, a moment when it was forbidden to forbid, when it seemed the imagination was about to seize power.

Deeply influenced by the events in Paris, I thought now was the time to speak to the veterans of the events before they were too old and to produce a book of the interviews, which will appear in early 2018, published by Pluto Press. I’d read much material on the events and a common refrain in criticism of books on that spring was the tendency to focus on Paris and, more particularly, student, intellectual Paris. And so I set out to interview people from cities around France, and to find workers as well as that most accursed breed of participants in May: Communists, considered the arch-traitors of the piece.

In the end I interviewed over thirty people, not a single one of whom regretted his or her participation. Not a one of whom had repented or profited by their taking part. It was a tribute to the impact of May on them personally that everyone I interviewed was still active in one way or another, though less as members of political parties than activists in support of refugees, or aids sufferers, or in educating immigrants. Every person I spoke to viewed May as a positive time, both for themselves and for France.

Suzanne Borde, who would live on a commune and eventually become a nuclear physicist, told me of how she was a girl in pleated skirts before the events, but as soon as the events kicked off she went home and made herself a miniskirt, around the hem of which she wrote in magic maker: “The problem is not with the length of my skirt, but with your gaze.” People discovered the thrill of speaking in public and inspiring others to action, of sharing ideas on the streets with total strangers.

Life would never be the same.

And yet in most ways it was.

There is another side to any recounting of May, and that is its failure to overturn the state and establish the working class in power. To make a revolution. To change class relations. This is far less cheery a subject, and yet it became clear from my conversations that it too has haunted the minds of those who took part. Almost all found positive results flowing from the events, in their bringing about greater openness, greater individual freedom, in their smashing of the Gaullist myth and the complacency of the “trente glorieuses,” the three decades of prosperity that followed World War II.

But other questions nagged at me, which I would like to address here. It should be noted that these are preliminary thoughts and that I am still working on clarifying them. The ideas of two writers on May hover over this, both of whom I read after conducting my interviews: Pierre LeGoff and Cornelius Castoriadis. I used neither to develop my ideas, but both served to give them greater form. I welcome comments.

The first question May raises, indeed the central one it raises, is whether revolution in the West is possible. But even before addressing that larger question, it raises that of how to name the period. Was May ’68 a revolution? If we were to say that a revolution is an uprising that results in the overturning of the power structure and a change in the ownership of the means of production, then May obviously wasn’t one, not only because it failed to accomplish either of these things, but there is no indication that the seizure of power was ever even seriously considered. In fact, it was in many ways scrupulously avoided. And further, when the period drew to a close the Gaullist state was more firmly entrenched than it was at the beginning, sweeping the elections in late June with a greater majority than that it held before. And as for a change in ownership of the means of production, those who could have posed that question—the workers—never considered asking it. Quantitative demands were the order of the day for the workers. In fact, the nearest thing to specific qualitative demands were the ones emanating from the students, calling for a université critique.

Also standing in the way of calling it a revolution is the lack of intentionality: when the events began it was a call for the liberation of students arrested for their involvement in an anti–Vietnam war demonstration at an American Express office. On May 3, 1968, the day of the disciplinary council that would determine their academic fate, students spontaneously exploded against the police. It grew and grew from that, but though many I spoke to admitted that at some point during the six weeks they thought that revolution would be the end result, it was not a stated goal.

But if the fact that it didn’t succeed in changing power disqualifies May from being defined as a revolution, then no mass activity that fails to change society to its foundations can be called one.

What then is the proper word for an event which sees virtually every factory in France on strike and occupied; schools shut down and occupied and end of year exams cancelled; daily demonstrations all over the country; barricades set up in the hearts of cities; the police and the forces of order confronted violently; unions taking over the distribution of food and gas; people organizing in their neighborhoods and schools; and strangers engaging each other in conversation, breaking the barriers that had formerly stood between them, all while the authorities are helpless to put a stop to it? “Events,” which is the word most often used, seems to be a pale reflection of what was occurring.

Is avoiding the word “revolution,” which is what the veterans of the event do today, simply another way of conjuring away the fact that it ended so poorly? Was May a revolution that failed, or was it really something else entirely, something sui generis?

Several people I interviewed described May as their 1905, the preparation for 1917 (a 1917 it must be pointed out, that never occurred). Indeed, Henri Weber and Daniel Bensaid, then leaders of the Trotskyist Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire (jcr), wrote a book titled Mai 68: Une Répétiton Générale—a Dress Rehearsal—positing precisely the notion that May was never anything but the precursor of the grand soir: the violent, rapid, and total overturning of the old order. This was the opinion as well of several of the people I interviewed: they were active in May as a way of pushing things as far as the circumstances allowed, and—in the case of the most Bolshevik among them—in the hope that a united revolutionary working class party taking in all tendencies would be a result.

Viewing May as 1905 has a serious flaw. In 1905 the Russians thought they were living 1917, i.e., they were engaged in a fight that was not the preparation for something greater that would occur later: they intended to seize power in that moment. In fact, the soviets, the organs of dual power, date from that revolution (and it is worthy of note that despite its failure the events are called precisely that: The Revolution of 1905). The hope of the Trotskys of the day was that this would be the end of Tsarism, and Trotsky wrote unambiguously at the time, “The Revolution has come.”[1] In the heat of the struggle they had no thought of laying the groundwork for a second attempt. They intended to win in 1905. That there were second and third chapters was the result of the revolutionaries’ defeat of 1905 and later of an event no one would base their strategy on: a world war.

And if many of my interview subjects said they didn’t think this was the grand soir, many admitted that at the time they did, so the notion of a dress rehearsal has no validity: no one takes to the streets and confronts the crs having in mind a hypothetical victory in some indefinite future.

But that leads to a further question, one that is essential: if you have a situation such as that in France in May–June 68 and power is not taken, and it is denied the name “revolution,” what would or could a revolutionary situation look like? An entire country on strike, normal life brought to a halt, hundreds of thousands of people marching daily throughout the Hexagon… It was a situation totally unlike that of the Paris Commune (in many ways), where it was Paris against the rest of France, but in May all of France was a field of struggle: if all this is the case and power was not shaken and taken, what possibility is there for it to occur? No western country has had a situation remotely like May, except perhaps Portugal in 1974, though that was significantly different due to the involvement of the armed forces in overthrowing the government and advancing working class power (and even so the revolution failed to overthrow capitalism). There could be no more propitious circumstances for the overthrow of capital, yet it didn’t occur. That being the case, can it ever occur?

There were many of my subjects who spoke of the lack of interest in attacking the seats of power, as if it was an irrelevancy. Alain Krivine leader of the jcr, spoke to me of how there were only three guards in front of the Senate building, yet it never occurred to anyone to steer the march into it and seize it, even for symbolic reasons. As I was told by one of its organizers, Jean-Jacques Lebel, the Stock Exchange, as the obvious stand-in for capitalism was attacked and set on fire on May 24, as a symbolic gesture. Prefectures were attacked in a couple of cities, yet the main seat of power never was.

Some of the explanation for this can be marked down to the spirit of the March 22 Movement, founded at the University of Nanterre and led by the anarchists Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Jean-Pierre Duteuil. All of their actions during the six weeks of struggle would be aimed at disorganizing centralized power and re-locating it to the base. “Self-organization” was their goal, as I was told, with committees in universities, in high schools, in neighborhoods; committees uniting workers and students, intellectuals and workers: their new society would be from the bottom up, so a seizing of power as represented by its buildings with the new authority emanating from a single locus would have been anathema to them. This explains the anarchists’ non-action in this regard, but what of the rest of the left?

The role of the French Communist Party (pcf) in the failure to pose the question of power is key. The pcf looked askance at the movement from the start, and if the strikes that started about a week into the events were inspired in part by the students (one interviewee told me that for the workers the thought was “if the students can do it, why can’t we?”) the fact remains that the pcf and its allied union, the Confédération Générale du Travail (cgt) did all they could to put a brake on the movement, to ensure that the utopian demands of the students didn’t penetrate to the working class.

Some of those who were students in ’68 spoke of warm receptions from workers when they went to the factories to meet with them, to distribute tracts. But far more spoke of being ignored by the workers, some placing the blame on the cgt, others on the simple observation that the workers were just not interested.

The workers I interviewed, in Paris and the provinces, presented a uniform picture, and it was of a working class that was anything but militant. All of them said that their first act upon declaring a strike was to sweep the floors and clean their machines and tools, so they wouldn’t be looked on as destructive, so they’d be seen as “responsible,” as “serious.” The late nineteenth and early twentieth century tradition of sabotage had completely vanished. This attitude set the tone for the rest.

For the workers it was not the qualitative demands of the students that mattered, but their own quantitative, bread and butter issues. I spoke to workers from factories in several cities, all of whom occupied their workplaces, none of whom said they had any interest in the students. In fact, the cgt official at the naval shipyards in Saint-Nazaire, a hotbed of working class activity, spoke with pride of kicking in the ass those students who came to speak to the workers: “We didn’t need them to organize a strike.”

The ouvrierisme so strong on the French left led the students to think the workers were the motor of any revolution, which left the vehicle immobile because the engine was dead. (An alternative way of looking at things is that the students, whose demands and actions were infinitely more radical than anything the workers did, who aspired at the very least to fundamentally changing their corner of the world, i.e., the high schools and universities of France, were Marxist in words and Marcusean in deeds. They spoke and wrote ad nauseuam of the need for worker-student unity, for the workers to lead the way to a new France, yet had no hesitation about throwing paving stones, building barricades, placing society in question without the assistance of the workers. Despite their outdated rhetoric, they acted as if they were the revolutionary class. And if they weren’t a revolutionary class, they were unquestionably revolutionary actors. In fact, “actors” is what the Communists accused them of being, playing at revolution. And what some of the then-young admitted to.)

The image we have carried in our heads for decades has been that of workers and students standing united, but it was Alain Krivine who perhaps put it best when he explained that in the jcr they had about twenty workers who they trotted out whenever they could, but that in reality they had no real base in the working class. (This syndrome could also be found in the late, lamented Socialisme ou Barbarie [S ou B], whose token worker, D. Mothé, served as proof of their working class attachments. Mothé, though a worker, was not a simple factory hand who saw the light when he read Cornelius Castoriadis. He had been a Trotskyist militant prior to S ou B, so his consciousness had already been raised.) But even more significantly, Krivine explained to me that at the monster worker-student demonstration of May 13, the beginning of the general strike, the workers and the students occupied nothing more than the physical space: mentally and politically they remained miles apart. The correctness of this analysis was borne out by events.

The harmful influence for decades of the pcf cannot be underestimated here, but the Communists’ profound reformism should not be seen as the sole cause of the working class not being as revolutionary as the students hoped and as the Marxist vulgate demands. France was not the ussr: there were no social benefits accruing to membership in the Communist Party. No one forced a worker to join the pcf or back its line: they did so in full awareness of what they were doing, and viewing the pcf as their true voice: there is no reason to believe that workers to any large extent disagreed with them. When workers attended student General Assemblies it was always specified that they were “young workers” who were not representative of the class as a whole. Cornelius Castoriadis, wrote of how “In France in May ’68 the industrial proletariat was not the revolutionary vanguard of society, but rather its ponderous rear guard. If the student movement attacked the heavens, what stuck society to earth…was the attitude of the proletariat, its passivity in regard to its leadership and the regime, its inertia, its indifference to everything that was not an economic demand.”[2]

So when Communists explained to me that they knew the working class and that the working class was not ready for more than bread and butter demands, the fault was partly theirs for failing in their role as a communist party in encouraging revolutionary ideas. But whatever the cause, the workers were, indeed, not ready or interested in the overthrow of capitalism. There is thus no surprise that when the Grenelle Accords were signed, the workers voted to return to work almost everywhere.

There were of course instances of the workers refusing to accept the bosses’ offers, of their rejecting the Grenelle Accords that were aimed at ending the strikes, and these are now held up as the example of what could have been had the Communists not acted as a brake. But though it’s true that the workers at factories like Flins (where Gilles Tautin died) and Renault at Billancourt (where the Maoist Pierre Overney would be murdered in 1972) drove out cgt secretary Seguy and refused the contract three times, that doesn’t necessarily mean the workers’ opposition to what they considered a poor settlement meant they wanted to take the strike to the next level and use the general strike as a means of bringing down capitalism (which, incidentally, appears in the cgt’s historic Charter of Amiens, dating to 1906). In fact, perhaps the most militant worker in all of France was the young woman captured in the classic documentary La Reprise du Travail aux Usines Wonder. This anonymous woman (later attempts to locate her were futile) refuses under any circumstances to return to the vile job she had and is outraged that everyone else is ready to do so. This is working class rage in its most primal form. It is not, however, a desire to establish socialism.

Self-management, an important intellectual current for decades in France, would not make an appearance in France in practice until the occupation of the Lip factory in Besancon in 1972. However, forms of auto-distribution were developed, particularly in Nantes and Saint-Nazaire, where food, vegetables, and milk passed directly from farmers to striking workers, bypassing the normal distribution networks. Here we truly had the hammer and sickle joined. But as the revolutionary farmer Joseph Potiron of La Chapelle-sur Erdre told me, “this worked fine for milk, but it wouldn’t work so well for cars.”

Nothing better testifies to the worker indifference to their student supporters than the fact that when Gilles Tautin, a Maoist high school student died when he drowned fleeing the police at Flins, the workers did not go on strike for a second. And among the most optimistic of my subjects, May continued until 1972 and ended when the member of the Mao-spontex Gauche Prolétarienne Pierre Overney was shot at point blank range by a Renault security guard and again the workers didn’t move.

So in May we see clearly limned the historical dilemma: students, certain from their reading and from the strong French ouvrierist tradition that it is the working class that must guide the revolution, seek an alliance with the workers, recognizing that on their own they could not bring down capitalism and its state. But for all the student advocacy and boasting of a worker-student alliance, in the first instance it was more apparent than real, and in the second instance, the revolutionary class was not revolutionary, not viewing either itself as such or the situation as being one propitious for revolution. The trente glorieuses had been very good to them, and they weren’t going to risk losing all their material gains.

An anarchist I interviewed told me that the most positive lasting effect on France of May was the beginning of the end of the pcf. And in the long run that might indeed be true, though it was only one factor. Oddly, several people I met with told me that though they hated the role of the pcf in May, they joined the party afterwards because, after the failure of the utopian dreams of May, they felt a need to do something concrete, and concrete in France in the ’60s and ’70s meant the pcf. The filmmaker Pascal Aubier told me of attending a meeting of S ou B, seeing it was a room full of intellectuals, and joining the pcf; for him, whatever its failings, it was where the workers were. However despicable the pcf might have been, however restricting a role it played in the events of May (and in 1936 and in 1944 and in 1947 and during the war in Algeria…), the death of the pcf, which the far left is fond of painting positively, was, ironically, a disaster for the left.

The death of the pcf would have been a fine thing if there had been something to take its place as the representative of the working class, but there was no one to assume this role. The working class lost its home and discontent lost a place where it could be expressed. Yes, for we on the left the pcf was exemplary of all that was wrong with the Communist movement. But you can know a party by its enemies, and no party was as hated by the French right, by the bourgeoisie, as the pcf. And it is difficult to maintain that the most radical sections of the working class thought any other party represented its interests. But more importantly, however attenuated a voice of discontent it was, it was nevertheless a voice. Its diminishment leaves the field free to the bourgeoisie. As Alain Badiou wrote: “What we suffer from on a world-wide scale is a politics disjoined from any interiority to capitalism… Our affliction comes from the historic failure of communism.”[3]

Violence is part of the image of the revolutionary process, and there was no shortage of that: buildings set aflame in Paris and Lyon, barricades in too many cities to count (those in Nantes denigrated by a Communist I spoke to as being “constructed of vegetable crates”), paving stones thrown, cars overturned and set on fire, tear gas launched…. And yet, many of those I spoke to spoke of how relatively relaxed their experiences were with the police when they were arrested, and despite millions of people taking to the streets, the number of deaths was amazingly small. Gilles Tautin died drowned, and one policeman in Lyon died, as well as two workers at Sochaux, and one right-wing student in Paris. But these numbers are debated: I was told by one of the leaders of the March 22 Movement in Lyon that the two workers killed at Sochaux were bystanders, not strikers, and the cop in Lyon died, not as was thought at the time, when hit by a truck driven by a demonstrator, but of a heart attack. To put this in perspective, on May 4 and May 14, 1970, more students were killed at Kent State University and Jackson State College than in France in the six weeks that events lasted. And of course in the same year of 1968 student demonstrators—somewhere from the dozens to the hundreds—were killed in Mexico City. What explains the relative moderation of the violence in France?

Not that there were not those who felt violence on the part of the students wouldn’t be salutary. Pierre Goldman, veteran of the student left, son of Jewish Communist Resistance fighters, and a man who spent his life trying to act like the members of the Manouchian Group, had nothing but scorn for the students, describing their actions as “joyful and masturbatory,” “collective onanism.”[4] He had other ideas than mass demos “spreading on the streets and in the Sorbonne the unhealthy tide of a hysterical symptom.” He went to see a leader of March 22 “and proposed an armed action to him. I told him that the peace in which the situation was frozen had to be blown up. It sufficed to resort to serious, real violence, to open fire on the forces of order… The government would oppose a military response to this surprising violence and the situation would be beneficially worsened and radicalized. In this way the possibility of communication with the workers would be created… The people had to be given a guarantee in blood.”[5] And in fact Michel Andrieu, a filmmaker who knew Goldman told me that one day, as he was at a demonstration, a man pulled a gun, a man he recognized as Goldman. But the fact remains that with the exception of the night of May 24, when the Stock Exchange was ignited, and when in Lyon, during fights with the police, a policeman died, violence on the part of the students was spontaneous and restricted to stone throwing and barricade building. Alain Krivine, leader of the jcr, told me with a certain pride that he was thanked by the prefect of police for his role in ensuring that violence was no worse than it was, and Krivine doesn’t deny that he and the other leaders, did not push for attacks.

Needless to say the state had all the means of repression at hand, yet they never fired into crowds, limiting themselves to arrests, tear gas and truncheons. Perhaps Goldman is right and a few dead students would have set off a wave of revolutionary violence, outside student ranks and outside Paris. It’s far more likely that such a suicidal tactic would have led to a quick end to the events as well. I was frequently told that police prefect Grimaud handled the affairs with great deftness, allowing the demonstrators a certain leeway in their violence without a murderous riposte, which certainly would have reflected poorly on him. But as Jean-Michel Rabaté, who experienced May in Bordeaux explained to me, he and his comrades never really feared being fired at: the government knew that among the student demonstrators were the sons of lawyers, professors, functionaries, perhaps even ministers. In a sense those on the streets, despite their rebellion against their parents’ world, were still protected by their families. Goldman diagnosed the situation perfectly: “The regime’s art was that of maintaining the confrontation within peaceful limits, from which the use of arms was banned, while the rebels imagined themselves in the midst of an insurrection and in this way fictionally fulfilled their dreams of revolution.”[6]

Several of my subjects spoke of the fear that the army—whose support de Gaulle had ensured himself of during a visit to General Massu in Baden-Baden—was preparing to repeat the feats of the army in 1871 in crushing the Paris Commune. And there is some basis to this belief. However—and we see here again the ambiguity of the pcf’s position in France at the time and how little convinced the bourgeoisie was that it was the reformist party it in reality was—it was only preparing to move when the workers went out on strike, convinced that the pcf was preparing to seize power!

Everyone who took part in the events in May and June speaks of how speech was freed, how it was democracy in action. But was it? There can be no question that the movement had leaders, Jacques Sauvageot, Alain Geismar, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, and to a lesser extent men like Alain Krivine and Jean-Jacques Duteuil and Jean-Jacques Lebel. Who appointed them? The answer, of course, is no one; they simply rose to the top almost immediately. Cohn-Bendit in particular became a symbol of the period thanks to his gift for provocation and his willingness to confront anyone of any title at any time and any place. No one voted him the head of the March 22 Movement, and yet he played a vital role in animating the events (an early book about May, published a month after it ended, was a collection of interviews called “Les Animateurs Parlent,” the leaders speak). They were not interested in exercising any kind of control over the movement or the events, but there is equally no question that they led and gave the movement a face and a voice and direction. How? Again, though our image of May is the General Assemblies at the Sorbonne and the Odeon, in fact there was a smaller group that met every evening to review the day’s events and prepare the next day’s.

In today’s frenzy for horizontality, where the notions of majority rule and representation are anathema, a situation like that in May would be considered reactionary. And yet, it was thanks to the strong presence and voices of the leaders that May was able to leave the Sorbonne, the Latin Quarter, and Nanterre and insert itself into every sector of French life. Action Committees in the neighborhoods and workplaces and high schools were formed, enabling activity in every corner of France. These committees were in many ways the outgrowth of previously existing committees dedicated to opposing the Vietnam war, but there is no reason to believe that the creation of these committees grew out of discussions: a leaflet went out calling for their creation and the call was taken up.

As for the General Assemblies, far from being action groups or deliberative bodies, they were rather a forum for the tearing apart and remaking of the world.

Finally, when asked what May brought that was lasting, the answer was always the same: it freed up French life, removed sexual and social constraints, opened the door to feminism and gay rights. The question I had to ask was, since all of these appeared in the United States without a May (though certainly in the wake of the Civil Rights and anti-war movements), might this not have reached France a little later anyway, as a part of the normal modernization of capitalism.

Though many I spoke with agreed this was a possibility, for Jean-Jacques Lebel, a cultural as well as political revolutionary, this was not necessarily the case: France and Europe are far more hierarchically structured than the United States, so an explosion like May was needed to clear the way.

But though May opened the road to these movements, and led to a loosening of society’s constraints, to changes in the educational system, to greater union fights, in the end it paradoxically served to strengthen capitalism.

May serves to prove the flexibility of capital, its ability to absorb shocks, to adapt itself to new situations, and then move on. Greater rights for women? Fine. A less mandarin ruled education? Fine as well. Even a certain change in relations at the work place was perfectly acceptable. As long as the fundamental matter isn’t touched: the ownership of the means of production.

May ’68 was another step in the modernization of French capitalism. It goes without saying that this is not what the people on the streets wanted. But it was perhaps Prisca Bachelet, a veteran of the fight against the War in Algeria who joined the student struggle from the beginning, on March 22, who expressed it best, describing the years after May: “Many of us worked at our workplaces at transforming things; we acted as if we’d seized power and were post-revolution. But while we were doing this, while we assumed intellectual hegemony, we didn’t notice that the bosses were reorganizing… We missed the central axes.”

But capital didn’t.

  1. [1] Leon Trotsky, “The Events in Petersburg,” https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1918/ourrevo/ch03.htm.
  2. [2] Cornelius Castoriadis, La Societé Francaise, Union Générale d’Editions. Paris, 1979, p. 193.
  3. [3] Alain Badiou, Notre Mal Vient de Loin, Fayard, Paris, 2016, pp. 60–61.
  4. [4] The Manouchian Group was a group of Armenian immigrants living in France at the time of the German invasion and occupation.
  5. [5] Pierre Goldman, Souvenirs obscurs d’un juif polonais né en France, Seuil, Paris, 1975, Editions Points, pp. 70–71.
  6. [6] Pierre Goldman, op. cit., p. 70.