What did the Nazis call the French Resistance?
October 22, 2009 6:47 PM   Subscribe

What did the Nazis call the French Resistance? I know they called the individual resisters "terrorists," but what word did they use to describe the resistance as a whole? (Insurgency, resistance, uprising, rebellion, etc.) This is research for a screenplay - I'm not looking for a discussion about modern parallels, or of what the morally correct word is in various situations. Also, if someone could give me the word in German that would be great! Please no guessing.
posted by bagadonuts to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: der französische Widerstand
posted by carfilhiot at 7:08 PM on October 22, 2009

Sort of related: Have you seen Army of Shadows? Pretty good film and a great place to pick up some more German dialogue...
posted by cinemafiend at 7:28 PM on October 22, 2009

I believe that they simply called it Die Résistance, but I'll be damned if I can find anything better to corroborate that than the German wikipedia entry.
posted by Kattullus at 8:39 PM on October 22, 2009

Response by poster: @cinemafiend: Army of Shadows is a fantastic film. That is actually an influence on the script I'm writing.
posted by bagadonuts at 9:08 PM on October 22, 2009

There were several non official groups. Maquis / maquisards. Francs-Tireurs et Partisans. French Forces of the Interior. Free French Forces.

'Partisaner' could be a good word.

I believe that they simply called it Die Résistance,

Even Nazi Germans were puristic enough to talk about 'Widerstand'/'Widerstandsgruppen'.
posted by ijsbrand at 11:47 PM on October 22, 2009

A few years ago I went to see an exhibition about the Wehrmacht. I forget what it was called. I seem to remember the French resistance in general being refered to as the "der französische Widerstand" like carfilhiot suggested above. Also quite often resistance fighters were referred to as 'Partisaner' as ijsbrand suggested. However, I remember this term being used for resistance on the eastern front. If the same word was used specifically for the French residtance, I am not positive.

You may also want to check out this book called 'The Language of the Third Reich' by Victor Klemperer. Perhaps it holds the answers you seek.
posted by chillmost at 1:12 AM on October 23, 2009

Best answer: Also, on the German wikipedia page for Partisan, there is a direct quote from Hitler himself from a secret conversation with other Nazi leaders in which he refers to the Partisanenkrieg.

"Die Russen haben jetzt einen Befehl zum Partisanenkrieg hinter unserer Front gegeben. Dieser Partisanenkrieg hat auch wieder seinen Vorteil: er gibt uns die Möglichkeit, auszurotten, was sich gegen uns stellt."

In this case, he is referring to the Russian resistance fighters. Whether or not he and other top nazis referred to the French resistance in the same way, the article doesn't clarify. It does refer to the französische Résistance but that is the modern politically correct language used by the non-nazi author of the wikipedia article. But if you need a reference for top nazis using the term Partisan, there you go. It can probably be assumed that lower ranking officers and soldiers had different names for them for the sake of convenience.
posted by chillmost at 1:32 AM on October 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I think I have what I need.
posted by bagadonuts at 7:31 PM on October 24, 2009

I asked a German last night who has done research on this and he said that quite often both terms, "der französische Widerstand" and "Partisan" were used somewhat interchangeably. when refering to the French.

He also suggested looking into some of the documentation of the Frankfurter Prozesse or the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials. A lot of official documentation was made available as evidence and it contains the specific nomenclature used by the Nazis.
posted by chillmost at 2:58 PM on October 25, 2009

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