missak manouchian

My dear Melinée, my beloved little orphan,

In a few hours I will no longer be of this world. We are going to be executed today at 3:00. This is happening to me like an accident in my life; I don’t believe it, but I nevertheless know that I will never see you again.

What can I write you? Everything inside me is confused, yet clear at the same time.

I joined the Army of Liberation as a volunteer, and I die within inches of victory and the final goal. I wish for happiness for all those who will survive and taste the sweetness of the freedom and peace of tomorrow. I’m sure that the French people, and all those who fight for freedom, will know how to honor our memory with dignity. At the moment of death, I proclaim that I have no hatred for the German people, or for anyone at all; everyone will receive what he is due, as punishment and as reward. The German people, and all other people, will live in peace and brotherhood after the war, which will not last much longer. Happiness for all … I have one profound regret, and that’s of not having made you happy; I would so much have liked to have a child with you, as you always wished. So I’d absolutely like you to marry after the war, and, for my happiness, to have a child and, to fulfill my last wish, marry someone who will make you happy. All my goods and all my affairs, I leave them to you and to my nephews. After the war you can request your right to a war pension as my wife, for I die as a regular soldier in the French army of liberation.

With the help of friends who’d like to honor me, you should publish my poems and writings that are worth being read. If possible, you should take my memory to my parents in Armenia. I will soon die with 23 of my comrades, with the courage and the serenity of a man with a peaceful conscience; for, personally, I’ve done no one ill, and if I have, it was without hatred. Today is sunny. It’s in looking at the sun and the beauties of nature that I loved so much that I will say farewell to life and to all of you, my beloved wife, and my beloved friends. I forgive all those who did me evil, or who wanted to do so, with the exception of he who betrayed us to redeem his skin, and those who sold us out. I ardently kiss you, as well as your sister and all those who know me, near and far; I hold you all against my heart. Farewell. Your friend, your comrade, your husband,

Manouchian Michel

P.S. I have 15,000 francs in the valise on the rue de Plaisance. If you can get it, pay off all my debts and give the rest to Armenia. MM

—  the final letter of Missak Manouchian  written to his wife while he awaited execution by the Nazis. Melinée Manouchian eluded Nazi capture and survived the war.
Son enfance, il l’avait passée dans le sein libre de la nature. Ses yeux étaient habitués à de larges horizons. Il était familier des montagnes et avait savouré le mystère de leur grandeur. Des animaux et des oiseaux, des arbres et des fleurs, des plantes et de la terre, il avait appris le secret de l’amour.
—  Missak Manouchian
Quand j’erre dans les rues d’une grande ville,
Ah ! Toutes les misères, tous les manques,
Lamentation et révolte, de l’une à l’autre,
Mes yeux les rassemblent, mon âme les recueille.
—  Missac Manouchian
Que les flambeaux de la conscience éclairent nos esprits !
Que le sommeil et la lassitude ne voilent point nos âmes !
A tout moment l’ennemi change de couleur et de forme
Et nous jette sans arrêt dans sa gueule inassouvie.
—  Missac Manouchian