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- 03 -272018

« A dedicated life », episode 16: Paul Jonas

Birth: 8 June 1898
Death: 6 June 1958
Companion of the Liberation – Decree of 7 August 1945

At the end of October 1917, the Battle of the Chemin des Dames ended with the victorious Malmaison offensive. In the five days preceding the attack, the French artillery unleashed apocalyptic fire: a gigantic battery of 1,800 pieces of all calibres fired three million missiles along a 12 km front. In the 32nd Artillery Regiment, a young volunteer aged 19 took part in the most intense artillery preparation of the entire war. In spring 1918, the German offensive brought Officer Cadet Jonas to the gates of Noyon, where his unit helped to prevent the Germans from accessing the road to Paris. A few months later, in August, he fell victim to poison gas in Arsine while on a reconnaissance mission.

In August 1941, his status as a Great War veteran led to his release from the Oflag where he had been since June  1940. He immediately joined the Resistance, first as a regional head of the Secret Army, then in the Free French Forces as part of the 1st Colonial Artillery Regiment.

Credits: Paul Jonas at the Chemin des Dames, 16 April 1917. © Paul Jonas’ family

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