1917 - 1944 | Naissance: | Arrestation: | Résidence: , , ,


The photograph opposite is from the collection held by Shoah Memorial in Paris, as is the wedding photograph.
This biography was researched, documented and written by Isis Artheau, 18904562, first year Master’s student at Paris 8 University studying “Archives, mémoires, pouvoir : les archives de la Shoah” (Archives, Memory, Authority: the Shoah Archives) under the supervision of Ms. Marie-Anne Matard-Bonucci.

Childhood and Background

Jean Guy Bernard was born on November 22, 1917 in the 16th district of Paris.[1] He was the youngest son of Fernand Abraham Bernard, a businessman, and Marguerite Ettlinger, who did not work.[2]
His father’s family made its fortune in the textile industry. His grandfather, Jonas Bernard, was a ready to wear clothing merchant in Nîmes for a family firm established in 1791.[3] His grandmother, Douce Noémie Rouget, came from a wealthy Toulouse family of drapery and trimmings manufacturers. Together, they had four sons. The eldest, Lazare Bernard, known as Bernard Lazare, was a journalist and writer.[4] Considered to be one of the first supporters of Dreyfus, he wrote a piece that inspired the very famous letter by Émile Zola, “J’accuse”.[5]
Fernand Abraham Bernard, his youngest son and the father of Jean Guy Bernard, was born in Nîmes on July 24, 1866. In 1889, he graduated from the École Polytechnique and joined the colonial army in 1891. He was first sent to the front in Tonkin and on a mission in the Dutch Indies before being transferred to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In 1908, he was appointed Commander of the Legion of Honor for “Outstanding Services” rendered as President of the Delimitation Commission which obtained the retrocession to French Indochina of the provinces of Battambang and Angkor. Retired from the army in 1908, he managed several companies in Indochina, which made his fortune.[6] In 1909, he married Marguerite Ettlinger, who came from a very old family from the Alsace region of France that moved to Paris in 1857.[7]
First they had a daughter, Jacqueline Douce Hugette Bernard, in 1913[8], then a boy with red hair and blue eyes, Jean Guy Bernard.[9] They both grew up in Paris in the family home at 101, avenue Henri Martin in the 16th district.[10]

Second Lieutenant Bernard, a pilot in the Air Force

On September 1, 1938, Jean Guy followed in his father’s footsteps and enrolled at the Polytechnique university, where he was ranked among the first 200 students by order of achievement.[11]
Passionate about aviation, he became a volunteer in the air force from October 1, 1938. When war broke out in 1939 and in accordance with the general mobilization order, he was sent to the Air Force training school in Versailles. He was then promoted to second lieutenant and obtained his pilot’s license.[12] The officers responsible for his training praised his confidence, discipline, reflexes and flexibility.[13] His commanding officer described him simply as an “excellent pilot”.[14] However, he never had the opportunity to prove his skills on the front line.[15] He was placed on leave a few months after the signature of the Armistice on June 22, 1940, and in November he was struck off from active military service[16] under the terms of the decree of October 3, 1940 “on the status of Jews”, which forbade anyone with three grandparents of Jewish “race” from being able to work in certain professions in the civil service.

Code name Thélis: the Resistance

Jean Guy then returned to the Polytechnique, which by this time had relocated to Lyon, to complete his second year.[17] The whole Bernard family then moved temporarily to the Grand Hotel in the city center. Jacqueline Bernard worked at the unemployment office, where she met Berty Albrecht. Berty was an old friend of Henri Frenay and they were working together to set up a resistance movement. At the time, they had only produced a few copies of a newsletter in response to Vichy propaganda.[18] With no hesitation, Jacqueline agreed to help them type and send out the newsletters. She would later become the central figure behind all editorial work on the underground movement’s publications. She introduced Frenay to her parents. Soon afterwards, Colonel Bernard began to fund the Resistance group. His help, which was the only significant contribution at the time, enabled the clandestine activity to really get started.[19]
On June 17 or 18, 1941, in an apartment that his cousin had lent him on rue de la Charité, Frenay met up with Berty and two young men that he did not yet know, Jean Guy Bernard and André Bollier. They were friends and classmates at the Polytechnique, both of whom wanted to join the Resistance.[20] Jean Guy appeared to Frenay as a young man with a penetrating gaze and concise remarks. He added: “He rarely laughs, as if he wants to hide the extreme youthfulness and zest for life that you can sense in him.”[21] André Bollier was the only recruit that Jean Guy managed to make among Polytechnique students. Henri entrusted him with the mission of printing and distributing the newsletter. It was Bollier who, with a team that he put together, would later turn the newsletter into an important means of communication. Starting from a single sheet with a circulation of four or five thousand copies, they went on to create a newspaper with a circulation of several hundred thousand copies that would be distributed all across France.[22]
That summer, after finishing Polytechnique, Jean Guy left for Toulouse at Frenay’s request. His mission was to make contacts to organize a resistance group in the area. He then returned to Lyon where he joined the SIGMA Company as a trainee engineer. However, he was swiftly fired for trying to recruit members of the resistance. He hardly cared, as he had already decided to devote himself entirely to the resistance movement. He invented a fictitious job that provided him with a cover story and enabled him to come and go.[23]
The movement was expanding rapidly. In November 1941, Frenay’s organization merged with that of François de Menthon to become the “Combat” movement, a name that was also used for the newspaper. The movement was organized into several sections: the social section, the forged papers section, the intelligence section, the Groupes Francs (mobile, armed squads) and the newspaper’s printing and distribution services.[24] Jean Guy acted as the Secretary-General of “Combat”. He went to fetch instructions from Frenay in the various retreats where he was hiding and then passed them on to those concerned. He liaised with the regional leaders, the different departments within “Combat” and delegates from other movements. He reported back to Frenay on what was happening and ensured that any decisions taken were implemented. He organized meetings and managed the allocation of funds.[25] According to Frenay, he was the man to handle any tricky situations.[26]
When the Montpellier area group was in turmoil due to a series of arrests, people leaving and personal rivalries, it was Jean Guy who was called in to restore order. He spent several months there from the winter of 1942 to 1943 and acted as regional leader while reorganizing everything. When he returned to Lyon, Gilbert Chambrun succeeded him as leader.[27]
At the beginning of 1942, Frenay set up the Noyautage des Administrations Publiques (NAP). The aim of the NAP was to infiltrate the Vichy government and civil service by securing contacts who could provide information on the German forces’ plans and operations. He entrusted its management to Claude Bourdet. In December, the NAP-Fer (meaning infiltration of the rail network) was formed in the unoccupied southern zone. Jean Guy Bernard then recruited René Hardy, a former main-line railway controller at Montparnasse station in Paris, who had gone undercover. Hardy had detailed knowledge and ideas about how to sabotage the railways. Claude Bourdet then asked him, under the supervision of Jean Guy Bernard, to organize the infiltration of the railway management.[28] Hardy already had a lot of contacts among the railway workers, but they were mostly laborers. Jean Guy Bernard was to use his engineering qualification to recruit managers. After the demarcation line was removed, he was put in charge of developing the NAP-Fer in the northern zone. He contacted Louis Armand, head of equipment at the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer, the French national railway company). As an engineer, Armand had numerous contacts among the railway company’s managers, so there was a direct link between his work and that of Hardy and Jean Guy. The NAP-Fer was therefore soon up and running in the Northern zone and Jean Guy took over its management..[29] The organization gradually broke away from the NAP and became the Résistance-Fer (Railway resistance).[30] Talks were initiated with the Allies to develop a coordinated sabotage project, the Plan Vert, or Green Plan. Jean Guy Bernard actively participated in this plan which, triggered at the time of the landings, prevented German troops from reaching Normandy.[31]
In January 1943, on the initiative of Jean Moulin, the Mouvements Unis de Résistance (MUR), or United Resistance Movements were born of the merger of the three major Resistance movements in the southern zone, “Combat”, “Franc-Tireur” and “Libération-Sud“. Lyon became the capital of the Resistance and brought together a very large number of branches of the MUR and other resistance networks. The situation was becoming very dangerous. Following some major arrests, the Resistance movement decided to move its decision-making bodies to Paris. Thus, one week in July 1943, one by one, they all moved to the capital. They left behind only the sections that could not be moved: the printing works, the central offices of the maquis (local resistance fighters) and other units that were focused specifically on the southern zone. Soon, all of the units had two branches: one in Paris and the other in Lyon.[32]

Marriage and the infiltration of “Combat” by the Abwehr

Yvette Baumann was born on October 17, 1919, in the 16th district of Paris. [33] She had a sister, Claudine and a brother, Jean Pierre. All three of them joined the Resistance. Their mother, Alice Lilice Neuburger, came from a very old family from Alsace which, not wishing to remain on German territory, had fled the region during the war of 1870.[34] Their father, Georges Baumann, was a former tank commander who fought in the Great War. He raised his children to be very patriotic. The family was Jewish and traditionalist but rarely practiced the religion.[35]
Yvette joined the resistance without even realizing it. After studying to become a social worker, she was hired by the Lyon Unemployment Commission, which was headed by Berty Albrecht. Under cover of her job as manager, Berty asked Yvette to deliver letters and parcels all over the city. It was only several weeks later that Yvette realized that she was involved in clandestine activities. She then became more and more committed to the movement. After Berty’s arrest, she took over as head of the social section of “Combat”, which helped families of members who had been arrested, sent parcels to prisons, organized prison escapes and hid the escapees.
In 1943, Yvette and Jean-Guy wanted to get married. Since both were involved in illegal activities, the marriage had to be held in secret. Pierre Bénouville, their friend and head of external relations at “Combat”, was in contact with the mayor of a town called Margency, in the Val d’Oise department, who was supposed to give him information about the Germans and collaborationist groups in Paris. He was called Richard Raymond and, in his capacity as mayor, agreed to perform the secret marriage ceremony. The wedding took place on October 8, 1943. In addition to the mayor and the newlyweds, Jacqueline Bernard, Marcel Peck, Claude Bourdet and Pierre Bénouville were also there.[36] All of them played important roles in the Resistance movement. For this reason, when the question of taking photographs arose, they hesitated, knowing how dangerous it could be. In the end, Claude Bourdet took a few shots. These images some of very few photos taken of groups of Resistance fighters around that time.[37]
It turned out that they were right to be reluctant. The complicit mayor, Richard Raymond, was in fact Abwehr agent 7122. The Two days after the wedding, he recounted all the facts in a long report[38] intended for the German spy Alexander von Kreutz. Richard Raymond also forwarded the photo.[39]


Arrested, tortured and deported

At the beginning of January 1944, Jean Guy’s secretary was arrested. The instructions given to Resistance fighters when one of their own disappeared was to leave all their known addresses. Jean Guy and Yvette therefore left the apartment where they were living. A few days later, when the Germans had not been to their home, they thought that the secretary must not have talked so far and therefore would not betray them in future. They decided to go back to the apartment because Yvette was eight months pregnant and they were comfortable there.[40] On the evening of January 28, 1944, Yvette and Jean Guy were getting ready for Jacqueline to join them for dinner. When the doorbell rang, Jean Guy opened the door. Yvette was preparing dinner in the kitchen, when she returned to the living room, her husband had his hands cuffed behind his back and the Gestapo was searching the apartment. The secretary had eventually talked, three weeks after she was arrested. They were then each taken in a different cab to Austerlitz railway station, then put on a train to Blois, where they were finally separated. Long, very painful interrogation sessions ensued. Yvette lost her child on the first day of the torture and gave birth to a dead child three weeks later. She was then taken to the hospital from which she managed to escape. Very debilitated and not knowing where to hide, she was soon recaptured. She was held in several different places and then after further questioning was transferred to the Fresnes prison. There, she comes into indirect contact with her husband. Like her, he had been horribly tortured.[41] Yvette was then transferred to Drancy, where she stayed until April 29th, when she was deported on Convoy 72 to the Birkenau camp. She survived thirteen months of deportation before returning to Paris after the liberation.[42]
Jean Guy stayed longer in Fresnes prison, where he had arrived on January 31.[43] He was transferred to the Drancy camp prison on July 14, 1944, and there he was tortured again.[44] During one of these interrogations, SS Bruckler shot him in the leg. He was taken on a stretcher into Car no. 1 of Convoy 77, which left for Auschwitz on July 31.[45] The state in which he boarded the train left no illusions as to what his fate would be when he arrived. None of the occupants of Car No. 1 entered the camp, which unfortunately means that it is absolutely certain that they were all sent to the gas chambers as soon as they arrived.[46] Jacqueline Bernard would later learn, through various eyewitness accounts, that her brother had been killed before arriving in German.[47]
By a decree dated March 11, 1947, the French Resistance Medal was awarded posthumously to Second Lieutenant Jean Guy Bernard.[48]


[1] Archives Départementales et Municipales de Paris (ADMP), État civil de Paris, Table décennale des naissances 1913-1922, Paris 16, V11E 533.
[2] In Henri Frenay’s memoirs, Jean Guy Bernard’s parents are described as follows: “Colonel Bernard is a small, slim, bright-eyed man with a fine moustache yellowed by tobacco. He has sharp words and gestures; his opinions are definitive. (…) His kind, cheerful wife has a penchant for good words, even if they hurt a little” See Henri Frenay, La nuit finira. Mémoires de Résistance 1940-1945, Paris, Robert Lafont, 1973, p. 75.
[3] Service Historique de la Défense (SHD), Armée de l’Air, Dossier Administratif, BERNARD, Jean Guy, DE 2017 ZL 82 82.
[4] The Bernard family tree can be found online on
[5] Philippe Oriol, « Autour de J’accuse ! : documents nouveaux » dans les Cahiers Naturalistes, n°72, 1998, p. 167-173.
[6] Une biographie de Fernand Abraham Bernard a été mise en ligne sur le site [consulté le 28/04/2019] le 28 janvier 2018.
[7] SHD, op. cit.
[8] ADMP, État civil de Paris, Table décennale des naissances 1903-1912, Paris 8, V11E 155.
[9] Claude Bourdet, L’aventure incertaine : de la Résistance à la Restauration, Stock, 1975, p. 115.
[10] Division des Archives des Victimes des Conflits Contemporains (DAVCC), Dossiers individuels des déportés et internés résistants, BERNARD Jean, 21 P 424 514, Extrait des minutes des Actes de Naissance.
[11] Le Temps, 2 septembre 1938.
[12] SHD, op. cit., Livret matricule de l’officier.
[13] Ibid., Notes des chefs hiérarchiques depuis le début de la formation.
[14] Ibid., Notes du Commandant de l’École de Pilotage N°10.
[15] Ibid., Livret matricule de l’officier, op. cit.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Archives Nationales (AN), Archives du Comité d’histoire de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale — Résistance intérieure : mouvements, réseaux, partis politiques et syndicats, 72AJ/74 ; Dossier n°4 Résistance-Fer, IV, pièce 9, Témoignage de Madame Jacqueline d’AURIOL (Jacqueline BERNARD) sur l’activité de son frère Jean Guy BERNARD, recueilli par Madame Marie GRANET le 3 janvier 1950.
[18] Yves-Marc Ajchenbaum, À la vie à la mort : histoire du journal Combat : 1941-1974, Le Monde Éditions, 1994, p. 20.
[19] Henri Frenay, op. cit., p. 75.
[20] Remembering this meeting, Frenay wrote: “… I had in front of me, that day, three exceptional beings among the highest and noblest figures of the Resistance. Their ardor, their efficiency, their courage were not for a single moment lacking. They were going to give themselves entirely to our struggle and all three of them were prepared to lose their lives.” ibid., p. 94.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Pour l’histoire du journal voir Yves-Marc Ajchenbaum, op. cit.
[23] AN, 72AJ/74,  op. cit.
[24] AN, 72AJ/74, op. cit.
[25] Marie Granet et Henri Michel, Combat. Histoire d’un mouvement de Résistance de juillet 1940 à juillet 1943, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1957, p. 131-132.
[26] Henri Frenay, op. cit., p. 94.
[27] AN, 72AJ/74, op. cit.
[28] Claude Bourdet, op.cit., p. 204.
[29] SHD, Archives de la France combattante, Missions, réseaux, mouvements, Dossier « Combat », 18 P 14.
[30] Christian Chevandier, « La résistance des cheminots : le primat de la fonctionnalité plus qu’une réelle spécificité », dans PROST, Antoine (éd.), La Résistance. Une Histoire sociale, Paris, Les éditions de l’atelier, 1997, p. 150.
[31] AN, 72AJ/74,  op. cit.
[32] Claude Bourdet, op. cit., p. 236.
[33] ADMP, État civil de Paris, Table décennale des naissances 1913-1922, Paris 16, V11E 533.
[34] United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), « Oral history interview with Yvette Baumann Farnoux » vidéo, 10 septembre 1990, voir [consulté le 26/04/2019]
[35]Association Pour le Recherche dur l’Histoire Contemporaine des Juifs (RHICOJ), Les Juifs dans la Résistance et la Libération. Histoires, témoignages, débats, Paris, Éditions du Scribe, 1985, p. 104.
[36] Pierre Péan, Vies et Morts de Jean Moulin, Paris, Fayard, 1998, p. 673-671.
[37] Claude Bourdet, L’aventure incertaine : de la Résistance à la Restauration, Stock, 1975, p. 307.
[38] Rapport entièrement retranscrit dans Pierre Péan, op. cit.
[39] AN, Cour de justice du département de la Seine, dossiers d’affaires jugées (1944-1951), Z/6/530 et 531, dossier 4760.
[40] AN, 72AJ/74, op. cit.
[41] Yvette recounted the entire episode of the arrest and the events that followed in an interview given in 1990 and posted on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website, op. cit.
[42] Yvette testified about her experience in the camps and her liberation on several occasions. See in particular Marie-Anne Matard-Bonucci et Edouard Lynch, La Libération des camps et le retour des déportés, Bruxelles, Éditions Complexe, 1995.
[43] DAVCC, 21 P 424 514, op. cit., Déclaration de P. Lamotte, Chef du bureau des fichiers-déportés, 4 décembre 1951.
[44] AN, 72AJ/74, op. cit.
[45] DAVCC, 21 P 424 514, op. cit., Déclaration de Jean HARDEN, 2 février 1947.
[46] Idem.
[47] AN, 72AJ/74,  op. cit.
[48] Journal officiel de la République française, 27 mars 1947, p. 148.


Isis Artheau, 18904562, first year Master's student at Paris 8 University studying "Archives, mémoires, pouvoir : les archives de la Shoah" (Archives, Memory, Authority: the Shoah Archives)under the supervision of Ms. Marie-Anne Matard-Bonucci. 

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1 Comment
  1. klejman laurence 3 years ago

    Magnifique travail, pour la biographie d’un héros au sens le plus noble du terme !

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