All his life, the one who was Jean Moulin’s secretary had the notion of freedom pegged to body and heart, and in all areas of his life. Daniel Cordier died, Friday, November 20, at the age of just 100 years. He was a lively, mischievous and delicious old man. He testified to his journey in the Resistance in 2009, in memories, late, Alias Caracalla, the name Roger Vailland had given it in Funny game, after the war.
Admirer of Pétain “savior” of the war of 14-18
And yet, nothing predestined the young Daniel to become resistant alongside de Gaulle. Daniel Cordier was just 20 years old when the armistice was pronounced by Pétain on June 22, 1940. Coming from a right-wing family, the adolescent, since he was 16, worshiped the writer Charles Maurras, and had even set up in Bordeaux a circle of French Action. Monarchist, anti-Semite, admirer of Pétain “savior” of the 14-18 war, Daniel Cordier nevertheless shuddered when the keys to France were offered to the Nazis. With the help of his stepfather, he takes a boat which, he believes, takes him to Algiers. He actually arrives in England, facing de Gaulle, with 630 other young people. “ There were very few of us, really crazy people, who wanted France to oppose Germany. I was 19, I was one of the oldest. My best friend was 17. We were children ”, he noticed in 2013.
“My rejection of anti-Semitism occurred when I first went to Paris and saw a Jew wearing the yellow star. It was extraordinarily violent. I would have liked to ask his forgiveness for being anti-Semitic. “
On site, the boys are welcomed freshly by General de Gaulle: “I will not congratulate you for coming, you have done your duty. “ He follows intelligence training and the basics of warrior. Even if he will retain a regret all his life: “I had left to kill kines and did not kill any”, he confided to Humanity in 2013. Suddenly, for a long time he did not feel “legitimate” to tell his story. He is versed in intelligence, and joined Lyon in 1941. A series of meetings then slowly evolve the young man on his bases. As on his anti-Semitism of which he kept until the end of his life a real shame: “M one rejection of anti-Semitism happened when I first went to Paris and saw a Jew wearing the yellow star, a father or a grandfather, with his child. It was extraordinarily violent. I would have liked to ask forgiveness from this man for being anti-Semitic. I knew it, however, thanks to the newspapers. But, between knowing and seeing, there is a difference. “
A meeting that changes a life
His meeting with Jean Moulin changes his life. He was immediately impressed by the stature of the prefect, responsible for unifying the various Resistance movements. “He was a man who had a lot of charm. He was very handsome, very funny. “ He remained his clandestine secretary for two years. From his contact, he learned a lot, on politics, but also on art: Jean Moulin had dreamed, young, of becoming a painter. His father had prevented him, but the former prefect did not hesitate to caricature his contemporaries, and had a very great culture in art history. Cordier tells, in Alias Caracalla, that Moulin wanted to take him to the Prado after the war. The arrest and death of the former prefect came as a real shock to the 23-year-old. Who still went to visit the Prado after the war and got such a “Love shock” that his life was “Transformed”: after the war, he became a collector and then an art dealer, and devoted his entire life to beauty.
Feeling of illegitimacy
For a long time, Daniel Cordier remained in the shadows, not necessarily feeling “Legitimate” to talk about this period. Nor necessarily at ease, as evidenced by his passage, in 1977, in Screen Folders, on Antenna 2. Resistance from within, London Resistance, ideological currents different from the Resistance: “ he There are a lot of dramas and tensions in this history of the Resistance. At the beginning of 1942, the leaders of the Resistance, such as Henri Frenay, Emmanuel d’Astier de La Vigerie, Henri Giraud … considered that, unlike General de Gaulle, they had not left France, and that, consequently, future chiefs of France, it was they. “
Fighting for gay rights
Daniel Cordier also fought for the rights of homosexuals. During the entire period of the Resistance, he was silent about his sexual preferences: in 1944, the subject was absolutely taboo. And himself coming from a Catholic family, he was therefore doubly guilty, as he confided in the Fires of Saint-Elmo: “The hatred for homosexuality was terrible. ” In the end, Daniel Cordier will fight: “I fought for freedom. And freedom is also the freedom to do what you want with your body and your sex. Its very important “, he told the World.
Daniel Cordier died a few weeks after Pierre Simonnet, another companion of the Liberation. There is now only one of them left, Hubert Germain. It is he whose remains will be buried in the crypt reserved for the last of the companions, at Mont-Valérien. A little quote from Daniel Cordier to Humanity, in 2013, in these liberticidal times: “The lesson is that only freedom matters in life. And for freedom, you have to risk death, if you are threatened to deprive yourself of it! “