Marcel Langer

Marcel (Mendel) Langer was born in 1903 in Szczucin and grew up in Tarnów in a Jewish-Polish family. In 1920, the family emigrates to Palestine, where Marcel takes up a job in a railway workshop in Haifa. There, he came into contact with revolutionary circles and joined the Communist Party of Palestine and the trade unions. After being imprisoned for his political activities, Marcel left for France in 1930 and continued to be active in the trade unions.

He arrives in Spain to fight against fascism in October 1936. He fights at the front, obtains the rank of lieutenant and is assigned to the artillery park in Albacete. There he marries a Spanish woman, Cecilia Molina, with whom he will have a child. In February 1939, together with the last veterans of the International Brigades, he leaves Spain for French internment camps, from which he escapes and returns to Toulouse.

After the German invasion of France, he co-founded the FTP-MOI resistance movement in the city and commanded a unit he named the 35th Brigade in honour of the 35th Division of the International Brigades, in which he fought. The 35 Brigade is made up of, among others, Spanish and international veterans from Spain and Jews from Eastern Europe. Langer is arrested with a suitcase filled with explosives in February 1943. During his trial, the prosecutor is said to have told him: 'You are a Jew, a foreigner and a communist - three reasons why I should demand your head'.

"If I have to die, in my last moments I will behave like a revolutionary worker" declares Marcel in a letter from prison.

On 23 July 1943 he was executed by guillotine. Before the execution, he is supposed to have said to the assembled officers: "I die for France and for a better society. Long live France, long live free man!".

His comrades shot a German soldier on the same day to avenge their commander. The 35th Brigade was subsequently renamed the Marcel Langer Brigade.

Today, one of the metro stations and a street in Toulouse is named after him, a commemorative plaque hangs in the place where he was arrested, and his grave is adorned with an imposing monument with his bust, and a quote from a letter written from prison: "I am proud to have dedicated a little of my life to the cause of working class liberation".