Aroutounian Agvan : un Arménien dans la Résistance française

Rédigé par Alan dans la rubrique Les AlliésPortrait

This is the story of Aroutounian Agvan, born in 1914 in the Armenia republic. His story has been kindly shared with us by his grandson Georgy who lives in Moscow.

On 21st of July 1941 Aroutounian Agvan was drafted into the soviet army and served in 683 regiment in the artillery battery. On 27th September 1942 while surrounded in Pervomayskoe village (Krasnodar region of Russia) he was wounded and captured by the Germans. In December 1942 he was put into a concentration camp in Legionowo (Poland). Once recovered from his wounds he was taken to a camp near Langogne situated in the Languedoc-Roussillon in France.
Aroutounian Agvan
In July 1944 he managed to escape from the camp and fled into the mountains where he joined a group of resistants who were part of the FTP-MOI (Franc-Tireurs et Partisans - Main d-oeuvre Imigrée). He remained with the group for several months and took part in many combats against the Germans in the region.
In September 1944 at Nimes his group was integrated into the 1st Soviet French Partisan Regiment (Premier Régiment des Partisans Soviétiques en France).

In 1945, at a meeting of French, British and American forces at Ales in the Languedoc-Roussillon, Aroutounian Agvan was awarded the Croix de Guerre.
After the War, in 1946, he was repatriated to USSR. His comrades in the Resistance had wanted him to stay in France, but he said no. His Grandson Georgy tells us that his grandfather was a very hard and complex person and he wanted to support communism. On his arrival in the USSR the Soviet military police took all of his personal documents on the pretext of having them translated into Russian. They did not return them.
In 1948 Aroutounian Agvan, his wife and two children, one of whom was Georgy's father (born in 1939), were deported to Siberia in the Altay region, they remained there until 1958. Being exiled in Altay was harsh and not many people survived due to the extreme weather conditions, no medical care and starvation. Georgy's father was only 9 or 10 years old, but like all the children there were Involved in hard work for 14-16 hours a day. Bearing in mind that these people sent to Siberia were from the South Caucasus and had never experienced such cold weather and had just a little time to build a shelter or dugouts. There was another major problem – no trees to gather wood to make fire and heat the stove. Aroutounian and his family had to use dried horse or sheep dung mixed with hay to heat the stove.
In 1958 the whole family was 'rehabilitated' and returned to Armenia.
Why had the soviets persecuted soldiers and officers returning to USSR ? Because they had been captured by the Germans. According to the Soviet communists, If you are a true communist you should not surrender to the enemy, you must fight to the end, and die in battle. Georgy's grandfather Aroutounian had said that during his interrogation, he was asked "Why did you not save your last bullet and kill yourself if you were surrounded ?" His grandfather answered: "I did not kill myself, because I had run out of ammo. I had used my last bullet trying to shoot Germans."

En savoir plus :

Ancien combattants et Résistants Arméniens 1939 - 1945 (link/lien)