Jacques Bingen

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Jacques Bingen (16 March 1908 - 12 May 1944) was a high-ranking member of the French Resistance during World War II who, when captured by the Gestapo, chose to commit suicide rather than risk divulging what he knew under torture.

Early life[edit]

Bingen was born in Paris to a Jewish family with Italian roots. He was the brother-in-law of André Citroën.

After graduating from the Lycée Janson de Sailly in 1924, he entered the École des mines de Paris in 1926 and studied to became an engineer.

In 1930-1931, he served in the artillery branch of the French Army.

From 1935, he was director of the French shipping company Société Anonyme de Gérance et d'Armement.

World War II[edit]

He was drafted in 1939 for World War II. During the Battle of France, he was wounded on 12 June 1940 at Saint-Valery-en-Caux. After France surrendered, he made his way to British-held Gibraltar, and from there to England, arriving in July.

He joined the Free French under General Charles de Gaulle, and was put in charge of its merchant marine, the little there was of it. However, Bingen longed to fight more actively for his country. He resigned on 1 October 1941 and signed up with the Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action, the Free French intelligence service, in 1942.

On 16 August 1943, he parachuted into France to help organize and unite the various disparate groups that comprised the Resistance. He played an important role in the creation of the French Forces of the Interior in February 1944.

On 12 May, Bingen was betrayed by Belgian double agent Alfred Dormal and captured at Clermont-Ferrand. He committed suicide at Chamalières by swallowing a capsule of cyanide rather than risk breaking under torture.

Honors[edit]

Bingen was awarded the Ordre de la Libération posthumously.

Rue Jacques Bingen, a street in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, is named after him. The cargo ship Empire Scepter was given by the British government to the French and renamed Jacques Bingen.

On 21 April 1958, the French post office issued a postage stamp bearing his likeness.