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Page 9 – The French Resistance

New Zealanders and the Resistance

An estimated 500,000 French men and women worked for the Resistance during Germany’s occupation of France. Resistance workers carried out thousands of acts of sabotage against the German occupiers. The risks were great. More than 90,000 resisters were killed, tortured or deported by the Germans.

They also gathered intelligence and helped Allied airmen and prisoners of war escape the country, risking their lives to save the young strangers. New Zealanders were among those helped to safety by the Resistance.

New Zealander John Morris was one of 500 New Zealand airmen who became prisoners of war. He was twice shot down over enemy territory after D-Day. The first time he bailed out of a burning plane, he was helped to safety by members of the French Resistance. The second time he was shot down, he was captured, interrogated and imprisoned by the Germans.

Among the Resistance workers who helped John Morris evade the Germans in France were Lucienne and Maurice Vouzelaud.

How to cite this page

The French Resistance, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated