Alliance Réseau

The Alliance Réseau was one of the most famous French resistance organizations. After the Normandy invasion, this network moved to Alsace to help General George S. Patton and his troops who were fighting in that area.

According to Rene Marx, as quoted in a book sold at the Natzweiler Memorial site, a number of French partisans were brought to the Natzweiler-Struthof camp in August 1944 to be murdered. These partisans were members of the Alliance Réseau (Alliance Network), nicknamed Noah's Ark because all the members had code names of animals.

The following quote was written by Rene Marx:

The murders of the French partisans brought to the camp during the last days of August were much more terrible. They started with the women. It was 9 p.m. The bell had rung for the curfew. The deportees were not to be outside of the block, or they would be shot by the S.S. in the observation posts. As I ended the visit to sick people with doctor Ragot whose assistant I was, I saw two elegant women with handcuffs on come down the camp's steps. Soon the commandant whose presence was the omen of some kind of bad thing, came down too, dressed in a black uniform that suited the occasion. He was accompanied by a small escort. From a window, I was able to witness what happened. The two women were taken to the prison, then in front of the crematorium. There, as I was told later by a prisoner, Frank, who worked there, they were given an intravenous injection and died in atrocious sufferings.

The next day began the executing of the members of the "Alliance Réseau". It lasted for three days during which a hundred and fifty to two hundred people were killed. Certain rumours had foreshadowed it. Some time before that, there was a rumour that some French people were hidden in the woods near the Donon and wanted to attack the Struthof and the Schirmeck camps. For that reason, the commandant had made the prisoners dig entrenchments around the camp with machine guns that were directed towards the inside, and that would kill us if the camp was attacked. On the other hand, the S.S. had organized a hunt for partisans, so that the kommandos to which they brought prisoners condemned to hard work had to stop working. The result of this offensive was not long in coming.

That very night around midnight, trucks were constantly arriving and going towards the crematorium. Awoken by all that noise, I went to my observation post at the window. The chimney of the crematorium, red with flames, gloomily stood out in the dark. What was going on? I thought that the S.S. were maybe burning their archives before evacuating the camp. But I knew the next morning. A companion from Luxembourg who had stayed at the clothing block that night, told me that a mass of men and women had come down from the trucks and that during all that time, bangs similar to that of a slamming door could be heard, along with screams and muffled songs.

From all the people who had been brought to the camp, there remained nothing but the smell of something burning and a gray smoke constantly rising from the tall chimney before it came down in the valley. It was easy to understand what had happened; the people who had been killed were the local resistants. They had been encircled and captured, crowded in the trucks and brought to the crematorium. The bangs were the noises of the 6 mm revolvers of the S.S. that they used in order to shoot their victims in the nape (Nackschuss).

This same book, which is sold at the Memorial site, has this quote from the Memorial of the Alliance:

How were the members of the Alliance group executed, in reality?

It is true that many different accounts of it were given from the beginning of the investigation that was made on this point.

Men were hanged and women were given injections, according to what someone said...They all died in the gas chamber, then they were cremated said another one...Men were shot and women were hanged, all were shot by tommy gun, etc.

It is impossible to give a definite explanation. According to a trustworthy eyewitness, it seems that part of the prisoners were hanged and that the others were shot.

French Resistance

Nacht und Nebel prisoners

Albert-Marie Guérisse

General Charles Delestraint

SOE agents execution