The women of the FTP-ME

The women of the FTP-ME

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Title: The women of the FTP-MOI march through Marseille on August 29, 1944.

Author : PIROTTE Julia (1907 - 2000)

School : French

Creation date : 1944

Date shown: August 29, 1944

Dimensions: Height 15.6 - Width 22.1

Technique and other indications: Gelatin silver bromide print

Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Christian Moutarde - All rights reserved

Picture reference: 06-512290 / 28194.32

The women of the FTP-MOI march through Marseille on August 29, 1944.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Christian Moutarde - All rights reserved

Publication date: January 2014

Historical context

The parade of August 29, 1944 in Marseille seen by a privileged witness

Four days after the landing in Provence, which began on August 15, 1944, General de Lattre de Tassigny was ordered to retake Marseille and Toulon. (French Interior Forces) who launched the insurrection in the city on August 21, a group of 12,000 men (consisting mainly of the 3e Algerian infantry division, of the 1re armored division and the Moroccan tabor group) entered Marseilles on August 23, winning the battle on the 28. The next day (August 29), in the presence of civil and military authorities and in front of a large crowd, a large parade in honor FFI and colonial troops takes place on the Old Port and the Quai des Belges.

Privileged witness of the Liberation, Julia Pirotte takes several pictures of this historic day, among which "The women of the FTP-MOI parade in Marseille on August 29, 1944" studied here. Polish exile and living in Marseille since May 1940, press photographer for the weekly Sunday illustrated is indeed also a resistant of the F.T.P.-M.O.I. ("Mavericks and Partisans-Immigrant Workforce") who took part in the town's uprising. Known for her work documenting the daily life of Marseille under the Occupation, the photographer thus immortalizes this time the victory as well as her partners (here female) in the struggle.

Image Analysis

A small and relatively isolated group

The photo shows some representatives of the combat group created within the military organization of Francs-Tireurs et Partisans by the Communist Organization of Immigrant Labor marching on the Quai des Belges.

In the heart of the city, eight modestly dressed women pose for Julia Pirotte. Solemn, the winners of the day stand erect, their arms at their sides, almost martially frozen, their eyes proud and their heads held high. If the two women who hold the banner announcing the organization (F.T.P.F.-M.O.I.) to which they all belong sport a bright smile, the others rather have a fixed and serious gaze.

Restricted and limited, the ensemble also appears relatively isolated in a fairly empty space since no other parade participants can be seen. With a few exceptions, the spectators (visible in the background on the left, or on the right) do not seem to really watch them, as if the "main" parade had already passed, to come, or elsewhere.


Women, F.T.P., immigrants

French internal resistance movement created by the Communist Party at the end of 1941, the Francs-tireurs et Partisans français (FTPF) also called Francs-tireurs et Partisans (FTP) developed in the free zone from November 1942. Appeared and organized at the same time, the FTP-MOI, resulting from the immigrant workers' workforce (MOI), regroup communist foreigners living in France without belonging to the PCF. Dependent directly on the Third Communist International and the Comintern, the F.T.P.-M.O.I. are present in several cities (including Marseille) where they organize guerrilla and intelligence operations, before actively participating in the fighting for the Liberation. Like other resistance organizations, these groups of civilians also include women like Julia Pirotte and her comrades from the Marseille section, whose "The women of the FTP-MOI march through Marseille on August 29, 1944" shows some faces.

Whether deliberately or not, the photograph presents atypical figures who are not very numerous and whose procession seems a little isolated in the parade. Women, F.T.P. and immigrants, these heroines in fact combine three fairly strong characteristics compared to the rest of the troops celebrated in Marseille on August 29. We then understand the importance for Julia Pirotte, herself a woman and member of the F.T.P.-M.O.I., to pay tribute to these resistance fighters by reminding them that they also fully participated in the victory. Mixed with joy but more visible than it is, the pride and solemnity displayed by these fighters strongly permeate the image, emphasizing their courage, seriousness and determination. Less impressive than armed soldiers, unusual and perhaps little noticed, this group is anything but folklore: it also deserves to parade and, in its own way, draws one of the new faces of victory.

  • Communism
  • women
  • War of 39-45
  • immigration
  • Liberation (war)
  • demonstrations
  • Marseilles
  • labor movement
  • Occupation
  • photography
  • Resistance
  • Lattre de Tassigny (Jean de)
  • Provence
  • Toulon
  • Comintern


Jean-Pierre AZÉMA, New history of contemporary France, volume XIV “From Munich to the Liberation, 1938-1944”, Paris, Le Seuil, coll. “Points Histoire”, 1979, new. ed. 2002.

· Luc CAPDEVILLA, “The mobilization of women in combatant France (1940-1945)” in Léora AUSLANDER and Michelle ZANCARINI-FOURNEL, The Gender of the Nation, review Clio. History, Women and Societies, no 12, 2000, p. 57-80, available at

Antoine CHAMPEAUX and Paul GAUJAC (dir.), The Landing of Provence, proceedings of the international conference of Fréjus (5-7 October 2004), Panazol, Lavauzelle, coll. “History, memory and heritage”, 2008.

François DE LINARÈS, Through the northern gates. The liberation of Toulon and Marseille in 1944, Paris, New Latin editions, 2005.

· Élodie JAUNEAU, “Images and representations of the first French soldiers (1938-1962)”, in Heroines, Clio review. History, women, gender, history, no 30, 2009, p. 231-252, available at

Jacques RAVINE, The organized resistance of the Jews in France (1940-1944), Paris, Julliard, 1973.

Charles TILLON, The FTP. Soldiers without uniform, Rennes, Ouest-France editions, 1991.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "The women of the FTP-MOI"

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