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Documentaries // History

EYSSES, AN EPIC TALE OF RESISTANCE


52'
2015


VERSION(S)
French & International

SUPPORT(S)
HD

PRODUCER(S)
MARA Films

DIRECTOR
Stéphane Bihan

October 1943. The Vichy government intensified its fight against the Résistance. The Eysses prison in the Lot-et-Garonne was selected to gather together all the resistance fighters arrested and sentenced by the Special Courts. Within days, 1200 prisoners had arrived at the centre.
Far from weakening or dividing them, internment united them beyond their political persuasions and their social origins and reinforced their willingness to resume the fight. They set up a provisional republic inside the prison. Meanwhile, an underground structure was created to organize one of the most spectacular resistance operations of the Occupation: the escape of 1200 prisoners to join the Maquis.
The escape attempt failed and resulted in the execution of 12 resistance fighters on the orders of Joseph Darnand. A few weeks later, the men in Eysses were deported to Dachau. In the hell of the Nazi concentration camp, they continued their battle to survive, fortified by the solidarity and fighting spirit acquired in Eysses. About 400 men never returned from the camps.
Seventy years later, and for the first time in a documentary, the last survivors return to the scene, to tell us about this tremendous collective saga. Studded with original archive material and testimonies, this documentary recounts a little known episode in the history of the Résistance. It mixes personal memories with the story of a unique collective fate in the midnight hour of the Occupation.


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