PARIS — Missak Manouchian, an Armenian genocide survivor who went on to become a French Resistance hero, will enter France’s Panthéon mausoleum of revered historical figures next year, President Emmanuel Macron announced in a statement Sunday.
“Manouchian carries a part of our greatness”, Macron said in the statement issued by the Élysée Palace, adding the French-Armenian poet and communist embodied France’s “universal values” of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Macron said Manouchian will be inducted into the Panthéon – which already honors eight other French Resistance heroes, including Jean Moulin – on February 21, 2024.
According to the wishes of his family, his wife Mélinée will join him in the mausoleum, although she will not receive the “pantheonisation” of her husband – the rare tribute reserved only for those who have played an important role in French history, such as Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Marie Curie.
Manouchian arrived in France in 1925 as a stateless refugee after fleeing the Armenian genocide with his brother, and joined the country’s communist Resistance movement in 1943 during World War II. He led a small group of fighters that carried out a string of successful attacks against the occupying Nazi forces .
Manouchian was shot by a Nazi firing squad on February 21, 1944.
The collaborationist Vichy regime later tried to discredit the group and defuse the anger over the executions in an infamous red poster depicting the dead fighters as terrorists.
By entering the Panthéon, Manouchian will become both the first foreign and communist Resistance fighter to be awarded the honor.
In his tribute, Macron also pointed to the “bravery” and “quiet heroism” of Manouchian and other foreign Resistance fighters.
Macron decorated Robert Birenbaum—part of the foreign Resistance fighter group alongside Manouchian—at the Mont Valerien site where Manouchian and other resistant fighter were executed by the Nazis.