Carlingue

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Commemorative plaque at rue Lauriston in tribute to the victims of the French Gestapo

The Carlingue (or French Gestapo ) were French auxiliaries who worked for the Gestapo during the occupation of France during the Second World War. The group, which was based at 93, rue Lauriston in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, was active between 1941 and 1944. It was jointly led by Henri Lafont and Pierre Loutrel, two criminals from the French Underworld.

History[edit]

The group was formed in 1941 by the RHSA for counter insurgency work against the Maquis in occupied France and the Vichy Regime. The Germans referred to the Carlingue as Active Group Hesse, after the SS officer "who'd looked after its foundation".[1] The group recruited its members from the same criminal milieu as that of its leaders. Both Henri Lafont and Pierre Loutrel (alias Pierrot le fou (Crazy Pete)) were gangsters in the Parisian underworld before the war. Another member, an ex-cop, named Pierre Bonny had been wanted by the police for misappropriation of funds and selling influence in the Seznec and Stavisky affairs. Many others in the Carlingue were Muslims who came from the disbanded North African Brigades. The criminal nature of the organisation gave it access to contacts such as informers, corrupt officials and disreputable business leaders like Joseph Joanovici.

According to retired policeman Henri Longuechaud, "one might be scandalised by the numbers of 30,000 to 32,000 sometimes quoted [as members of the Carlingue]. In Paris, when the Germans launched a recruitment drive for 2,000 auxiliary policeman in their service, they received no fewer than 6,000 candidates."[2]

Legacy[edit]

Principal members of the Carlingue were tried and condemned after the Liberation in 1944.

In 2004, a television film was produced on the Carlingue, entitled 93, rue Lauriston. Although fictional, it was inspired by real events and featured Lafont and Bonny.

Louis Malle's 1974 film Lacombe Lucien features characters based on the Bonny-Lafont gang.[3]

In August 2014, the government of Paris ordered the owners of 93, rue Lauriston to restore the memorial plaque to the building.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ King, David (2011). The City of Death. Crown. p. 142. 
  2. ^ Henri Longuechaud, Conformément à l’ordre de nos chefs, page 58, cited by Maurice Rajsfus in La Police de Vichy. Les forces de l'ordre françaises au service de la Gestapo. 1940/1944, Le Cherche Midi éditeur, 1995 (page 51).
  3. ^ Interview of historian Pierre Laborie in the french DVD's extras, Arte Video.
  4. ^ "Paris WW2 plaque to be restored on 'house of shame'". BBC News. 3 September 2014. 

Source[edit]

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the French Wikipedia.