19. The Stunning Feat of a World War II French Resistance Fighter
Georges Charles Louis Blind (1904 – 1944) was a French fireman, ambulance driver, and French Resistance member from Belfort. He became famous in 1984 when a photograph was published in an attempt to identify an anonymous man who had pulled off a feat of extraordinary courage in the face of mortal danger. It depicted a man with his back to a wall, identified as near a moat in the Belfort Citadel, and a wide smile across his face as he faced a German firing squad with its raised rifles aimed at him. A Belfortian stepped forward and identified the man in the picture as Georges Blind, his father, who had died in Nazi custody.
Blind, a blacksmith, had become a fireman in 1929. He took his first steps towards joining the Resistance just a few months into the German occupation of France, when he and others sheltered a statue of Edith Cavell, a WWI heroine who had been executed by the Germans. As a fireman, he had a pass that allowed him to drive fire brigade trucks and ambulances between the Belfort region and Alsace. He eventually became a resistance courier, and used his ambulance to transport fugitives on the run from the Nazis, weapons, information, and clandestine publications. He was arrested by the Germans on October 14th, 1944, and jailed.