French resistance hero Raymond Aubrac dies at 97
One of the last surviving leading members of the French resistance to Nazi rule has died, aged 97. Raymond Aubrac's escape from German hands was a theme in two films. After the war he worked to end the Vietnam war.
Born Raymond Samuel to a middle-class Jewish family in 1914, he became known as Raymond Aubrac because one of his noms de guerre during his resistance years.
Committed left-wingers before the war, he and his wife Lucie were among the founders of Libération Sud, one of the first resistance networks set up after Philippe Pétain's government capitulated the Germans in 1940.
In 1943 he was captured by the Gestamp along Jean Moulin, who had been sent by Charles De Gaulle to try and unify the Communist-led resistance with more right-wing forces.
Moulin died under torture in Paris and his capture and death are still the subject of debate as to whether he was betrayed.
Lucie and a resistance commando freed Raymond and 13 other detainees in a daring ambush on a truck from Gestapo headquarters in Lyon, an operation that featured in two films, Lucie Aubrac and Boulevard des Hirondelles.
After liberation, Aubrac became the representative of the new government in Marseille, a task that he later said was hampered by his youth and clashes with the Socialist Party, which had identified him as a Communist fellow-traveller.
He later used his Communist connections and his technical skills to set up a consultancy advising local councils and east European governments on development.
During that period he met Czech Communist Artur London, who was later imprisoned by his comrades, an event that Aubrac said shook his faith in Stalinism.
In 1946 he befriended Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh, then leading the fight for independence from the French and later the war with the US and its puppet governments.
In the 1970s Aubrac served as go-between in tentative moves towards peace between Washington and Hanoi.
In later years he signed a number of appeals against Israel's behaviour in the occupied Palestinian territories and its attacks on Lebanon.
On the 60th anniversary of the publication of the programme of the resistance he signed a joint appeal with other historic figures calling on younger generations to "pass on the heritage of the resistance and its ideals of economic, social and cultural democracy, taht are still relevant today".