London June 21 (ANI): Rare pictures of French Resistance agents being fired at the Nazis' largest execution site in France are on public display for the first time in Mont Valerien, a 19th century fort outside Paris.
The Nazis executed over 1,000 French resistance fighters and hostages during the Second World War at this site.
Resistance members mainly 'Communists or Jews' were arrested by the Nazis and sentenced to death by military tribunals in revenge for the deaths of German soldiers.
"They took them here, as they could kill them quietly and discreetly, without fear of rescue attempts" Telegraph quoted Chloe Theault, from France's war veterans office, who now works at Mont Valerien, as saying.
Men and women were decapitated or attached to five wooden poles in a clearing, blindfolded and shot by a group of 60 Fusiliers.
Despite the fact that such brutal mass murders were carried out, no photographs existed of these executions. The Nazis feared that they would be used for propaganda purposes.
However, a non-commissioned officer named Clemens Rüter who was tasked with providing a motorcycle escort to the convicts hid in the bushes, dared to break the rule on February 21, 1941, taking three snaps of an execution with his Minox camera.
He never disclosed it to anyone and left the roll inside the camera for forty years. He revealed the secret to a German pilgrim shortly before his death.
"He felt guilty; he was opposed to the executions and ashamed. He opened his heart to this comrade," The Telegraph quoted Jean-Louis Macron, former chaplain of Mont Valerien, as saying.
Clemens Rüter room-mate who worked with the Franz Stock association finally developed the negatives, but for years they were not brought out for public display.
Among the 19 letters on display at the permanent exhibition opened on Saturday is Missak Manouchian's farewell to his wife.
"At the moment of death I proclaim that I harbour no hatred towards the German people and against anyone at all, everyone will receive their just deserts, will not last much longer," Telegraph quoted him, as saying. (ANI)