René Carmille

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René Carmille
Died25 January 1945
OccupationComputer expert (Analog & Electromechanical) and comptroller general of the French Army

René Carmille (born in Trémolat, Dordogne, France, 1886; died in Dachau, Bavaria, Nazi Germany, 25 January 1945) was a punched card computer expert and comptroller general of the French Army in the early 20th century. In World War II he was a double agent for the French Resistance and part of the Marco Polo Network. He ran the Demographics Department (Service de la démographie) of Vichy which soon, through a merger with the SGF (General Statistics of France), became the new National Statistics Service, which he continued to head up. In this capacity, he sabotaged the Nazi census of France, saving untold numbers of Jewish people from death camps.


IEEE describes Carmille as being an early ethical hacker: "Over the course of two years, Carmille and his group purposely delayed the process by mishandling the punch cards. He also hacked his own machines, reprogramming them so that they’d never punch information from Column 11 [which indicated religion] onto any census card."[1] He also used his department to help mobilize French resistance in Algeria.

Arrest and deportation[edit]

Carmille was arrested in Lyon on 3 February 1944. He was interrogated for two days by Klaus Barbie but did not break under torture. He was caught by the Nazis and sent to Dachau where he died on 25 January 1945.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

A short documentary was released about Carmille in 2010 called Interregnum[3] which stars Nicole Stamp.[4]



  1. ^ Amanda Davis, "A History of Hacking." The Institute 06 March 2015.
  2. ^ Black 2001, pp. 320–332
  3. ^ Interregenum: The First Hacker. Nick Fox-Gieg. 2011. Video on YouTube; "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2012-01-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2012-01-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)