René Vulliez

René Laurent Vulliez was born on 23. January 1919 in Lyon into a modest family. His father, Xavier Vulliez was a mechanic in Montplaisir, a suburb of Lyon. There were a lot of car-manufacturers‘ workshops in the city.

We can trace René Vulliez to the city of Grenoble, where he lived with his mother. In 1936, he studied at the Ecole Normale d’Instituteur (the College of Education for Primary School Teachers). René was a brilliant student with a passion for maths and the sciences. He was regarded by his school’s colleagues as a brain with a reserved character and a modest way of life. While at the Teacher’s Education College he met Marius Charles.

In 1939 he finished his training and his first appointment was from 1. October to 30. November at the village of Heyrieux . In December he was mobilized and posted to Versailles Engineering Corps School.

René was captured in Reims after the invasion of the North of France. In 1941 he crossed the demarcation line and tried to reach de Gaulle’s army in London. He was arrested near Saint-Julien-en-Genevois in Switzerland and handed over to the French Vichy Police. In July 1941 the Military Court of Montpellier sentenced René to a month in jail, a year of imprisonment in the fortress of Collioures and was banned from teaching. He served the term of punishment and at the beginning of 1943 was reinstated as a teacher. This happened because he was his mother’s only supporting relation.

He worked in Valbonnais and then in Chassieu, near Lyon where he was headmaster. At the end of April 1944 he was summoned to Compulsory Work : Germany needs teachers! He resigned on 15. May 1944.

He rejoined the Secret Army in Doméne near Grenoble. This was the irregular group of his colleague and friend Marius Charles who taught in the city. This group was run by Henri Segal. His pseudonym was Laurent and his office liaison agent. The friends in this group of six were Henri Coeur an engineer-student, Eugéene Gudin, a metalworker, Georges Bois, Angelo Brunato and Marius Charles.

He met Anne-Marie Mingat Mimi Lherme in whose book Fight for freedom 42 there is a picture of René Vulliez with the comment: a young teacher died in internment. Nothing is known about his activities at this period. On Friday 30. June the Wehrmacht hunted the resistance fighter in Doméne. Henri Coeur, Eugéene Gudin and René Vulliez were captured in the hotel-restaurant du Midi.

The mayor of Doméne saw our three friends that evening at the Hotel Gambetta which was the Gestapo centre in Grenoble. On 8. July they left Grenoble for the Montluc jail in Lyon. We can trace these resistance fighters on the train starting at Compiegne on 28. July and reaching Neuengamme on 31. July 1944. It seems that Henri Coeur and René Vulliez were together. The registration number of René Vulliez is 40 130 that of Henri Coeur is 40 131.

René Vulliez died on l4. January 1945 supposedly of double pneumonia. Schandela’s camp had no crematorium and René Vulliez was buried there. His body was taken home and his funeral took place at the Church of Notre-Dame in Grenoble on 29. March 1952. He lies in the Petit Sablon cemetery with his mother. His death destroyed his mother’s life. She died a few years later in extreme poverty. The city of Heyrieux installed a memorial insription in the corridor of the public school at the request of the Primary School Administration. Similarly the city of Chassieu had an inscription put up at his former school and named a nearby street after him in 1994.