About two weeks before the liberation of Sedan by the American Army, a group of French pro-Nazis arrived on 22 August 1944, in the vans of the enemy who was retreating towards Germany. In this case, they were not members of the Darnand Milice, but ‘Francistes’ led by a fanatic and bloodthirsty leader Paoli, who had become the head of the Gestapo in Bourges. Closely linked to Marcel Bucard, (the founder of the Franciste movement), Paoli brought with him a crazy killer whose physical malformation led the population in Sedan to call this group ‘the humpback gang’. These maniacs lured some resistant fighters into the trap of a fake maquis, in order to massacre 19 and wound 2 others, a killing that lasted two days, on 28 and 29 August. Nine patriots were killed on 28 August, one after the other in the Givonne valley and its surroundings, but one wounded survivor, Pierre Discrit, managed to escape. The day after this terrible event, the horror reached its peak in the cave Morts au maquis of Gaulier, when ten people from Sedan were shot in the neck after being tortured. One of the torturers was sadistic enough to display the ear from one of the victims for all to see.
Doctor François’s family was decimated: he was executed with his wife and their brothers-in-law, Jean and Robert Barré, by Paoli himself.
An eleventh person, Georges Cablat, of admirable courage, survived thanks to a real miracle: he fell slightly wounded among the bodies of the dying people and pretended to be dead, but he was then seriously wounded by a final burst of submachine gun, aimed at finishing off the people who were still breathing. Thanks to a support network of heroic people, Cablat was taken to the hospital, where he was successfully operated on by Doctor Martin, and hidden by a nun who was able to fool the killer that came to kill the survivor. He was saved and is still an exemplary witness for his wisdom and his detachment.
His best friend Michel Choinet, who worked with him in the same textile company, fell wounded just before him, and Cablat was never able to fully recover from this tragedy.