The red poster

The red poster

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Title: Liberators? Liberation by the army from crime!

Creation date : 1944

Date shown: 1944

Dimensions: Height 123 - Width 82.5

Technique and other indications: Offset

Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

Picture reference: 06-513923 / 2007.18.1

Liberators? Liberation by the army from crime!

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

Publication date: September 2020


The Red Poster


Historical context

A major propaganda operation

Formed and organized between the end of 1942 and February 1943, the Manouchian network is part of the resistance group of "Francs-tireurs et partisans - main-d'oeuvre immigrant" (F.T.P.-M.O.I.). Composed of twenty-three Communists (including twenty foreigners: Spaniards, Italians, Armenians and Jews from Central and Eastern Europe), the network is the author of numerous attacks and acts of sabotage against the Nazi occupiers. The Manouchian network takes its name from its leader: Missak Manouchian.

Arrested in November 1943, its members were tried during a trial which took place before the German military tribunal in Grand Paris, from February 17 to 21, 1944. Twenty-two of the twenty-three members of the network were sentenced to death and shot. February 21 at the fort of Mont-Valérien. Olga Bancic, the only woman in the group, will be beheaded on May 10.

Produced by the German propaganda services in France, “Des liberators? The Liberation ! By the Crime Army "(also called" The Red Poster ") is plastered in Paris and in some major French cities at the time of the trial or the day after the execution (February 22). Published in 15,000 copies and accompanied by numerous leaflets evoking the event, it constitutes a major operation against the Resistance.

Image Analysis

The crime army

The image is organized into three parts. Crossing the top and bottom of the poster, the question "Liberators? "And his response" Liberation! By the Crime Army "explicitly deliver the message its perpetrators want to convey.

In a red triangle are the photo, name, origin and actions carried out by ten resistance members of the Manouchian group: Grzywacz, Polish Jew, 2 attacks - Elek, Hungarian Jew, 8 derailments - Wasjbrot, Polish Jew, 1 attack, 3 derailments - Witchitz, Polish Jew, 15 attacks - Fingerweig, Polish Jew, 3 attacks, 5 derailments - Boczov, Hungarian Jew, chief derailleur, 20 attacks - Fontanot, Italian Communist, 12 attacks - Alfonso, Red Spaniard, 7 attacks - Rayman, Polish Jew, 13 attacks - Manouchian, Armenian, gang leader, 56 attacks, 150 dead, 600 wounded.

Six photos (attacks, weapons or destruction) finally represent the threat they constitute through some of the attacks with which they are accused.


The Enemy Within

The "red poster" intends first to present members of the Manouchian network as dangerous terrorists. The dominant color red evokes their political affiliation but also the blood they have shed. Likewise, the presentation of the photos inset above their "palmares" evokes a criminal iconography. Qualified as a "band", the Manouchian network is thus denied any political recognition.

The image also emphasizes that this "crime army" is made up of foreigners. Shaggy, aggressive and sinister, these men are in addition to "Jews", "reds", foreigners. While acts of resistance multiply, the German authorities intend to persuade the citizens of the danger these men pose to the country. Far from liberating France (to return it to the French), on the contrary, they threaten to deliver it to chaos and to nefarious powers from outside.

  • propaganda
  • War of 39-45
  • Nazism
  • Occupation
  • Resistance
  • poster


Jean-Emmanuel DUCOIN (dir.), Manouchian Group - Shot on February 21, 1944 - Heroes, to life, to death, special issue of Humanity, Paris, February 2007.

Philippe GANIER-RAYMOND, The Red Poster, Paris, Fayard, 1975.

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

Benoît RAYSKI, The Red Poster, Paris, Denoël, 2009.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "The red poster"


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