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
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
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,
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