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Can you identify this well decorated woman - A veteran WWII France?

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    Can you identify this well decorated woman - A veteran WWII France?

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I found this picture today on an auction of photographs. The picture displayed in this thread was taken by a well know French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, who is best know for his "street photos". The woman appears to be a well decorated WWII veteran. The photo is untitled and is not dated. I can not identify the majority of the awards although she seems to be a Commander of the Legion of Honour. I would like to know her name and the name of the decorations that she is wearing.

    Regards,

    Gordon
    H22792-L227592292_original.jpg


    #2
    Wonder if she might be wearing these in honor of her husband?

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by pauke View Post
      Wonder if she might be wearing these in honor of her husband?
      That's what I'm thinking.
      Looking for Soviet orders and medals for my collection.

      Comment


        #4
        Hello Gordon

        probably Madame Geneviève de Galard
        I look for to confirm....

        cordially
        Didier

        Comment


          #5
          it's me again...!

          Jeanne Matthey
          http://www.francaislibres.net/liste/...hp?index=84282

          Didier

          Comment


            #6
            Didier,

            Thanks for the name. An interesting person from WWI and WWII. From the WIKI write up at least the Legion of Honour in the grade of Commander is correct. I wonder if there is a complete list some place of her awards? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanne_Matthey

            Regards,

            Gordon

            Comment


              #7
              Yes, it would be most interesting to see a list/explanation of this amazing woman's awards. It looks like she rivals a general in the number she has.

              Comment


                #8
                To continue my research I have put together an overview of Jeanne Marie's history as much as I could using the available on line resources. Only a few of her awards could be ascertained for certain. The search continues!

                Regards,

                Gordon


                JEANNE MARIE MATTHEY-JONAIS

                Born in Egypt January 26, 1886 to a Swiss father and a French mother, Jeanne Matthey moved to France with her family in 1900, taking up residence on Boulevard Malesherbes, an affluent Paris thoroughfare. Sport played a central part in the family=s recreational activities. Jeanne=s brothers played football, while she and her sister devoted their energies to tennis.

                Talented but self‑effacing, the young Jeanne quickly made a name for herself on the courts of the Racing Club de France, where her family were all members. In 1909 she won her maiden French Championship (as the French Open was formerly known) and went on to become one of the country=s leading women players, retaining the title for the next three years before losing to the top French seed Marguerite Broquedis in the 1913 final. I addition to her win in the singles championship she also won the French championship in women=s doubles in those same years, and mixed doubles in 1909.

                No sooner had Jeanne reached the peak of her powers than her career was curtailed by the outbreak of the First World War. Whereas her life had to this point been taken up with tournaments and family engagements, she decided to leave the courts behind her and volunteer as a Red Cross nurse.

                After spending four years at the front, during which time she became a head nurse, Jeanne returned to Paris on suffering serious wounds to her right arm, which would prevent her from holding a racquet and playing tennis again. She had, in any case, decided to devote her life to helping others and lived out her principles by playing an active role in the Second World War, forming part of a resistance network in which she had the task of relaying messages.

                Caught on 15 August 1944 and tortured by the Gestapo, Jeanne refused to give her captors any information and was sent to a concentration camp in Germany. Though she survived the ordeal, the ill treatment she suffered during her internment left her much weakened.

                The following information of Jean Marie=s experience following her capture and imprisonment is taken from the AFoundation Pour La Memoire De La Deportation - Livre Memorial@. (This information is disjointed and is incomplete. I was unable to locate any corroborating evidence to support these claims)

                Route after the first KL Tor, Abt., Mkb,

                KL # 57884 Ravensbruk (number recorded is that of the first place of internment. The SS built Ravensbrück, near Fürstenburg, as a woman=s internment camp in 1939.)

                TORGAU (Tor)
                This Kommando of women, located 50 Km north-east of Leipzig, opened in September 1944. Works for a munitions and explosives factory. 250 prisoners were there in January 1945. They were evacuated to Ravensbrück.

                Abterode , Abteroda or AAnton@ (Abt.)

                This Kommando located 40 km north-east of Eisenbach in Thuringia was created in October 1944 to house, in a former Potash mine, a BMW factory manufacturing aircraft engine parts. A Kommando of women also opens, manufacturing explosives. The site was evacuated in March-April 1945, mainly to Buchenwald (212) men. The workforce was 230 men and 250 women in January 31 1945, including a few French,

                Leipzig Markkleeberg (Mkb)

                Located in the south east suburbs of Leipzig, this Kommando of women works on finishing of wing levers of planes for the firm of Junkers.

                Date of release ?/05/1945

                Place of release Prague

                How, or why, Jean Marie was in Prague remains a mystery. One possible answer is that she was in Theresienstadt Concentration Camp when she was released from captivity. Theresienstadt was a walled ghetto, or concentration camp, in the Czech town of Teresín from 1941 until 1945 basically used as a transit point for prominent Jews collected from all over Europe.

                In 1972, on being spotted at Roland‑Garros, (well-known tennis club) Jeanne laughed as she told reporters, AI=m in little bits!@. She went on to tell them that she was a member of more than 30 war veterans= organizations and that she had received more than 38 medals and decorations since the end of the First World War.

                Jeanne Matthey is more than just a four‑time French Open champion. Behind that fabled name is the story of a truly unique woman, a hero of her time, and a figure who played her part in history.

                Never married, she was living in Paris at the end of her life on November 24, 1980, at the age of 94.

                Known awards; In 1927 she received the bronze Medal of Honour for public assistance (médaille d'honneur de l'assistance publique) for her services as a nurse. In 1952 she was named a knight in the Legion of Honour, in 1958 she became an officer and in 1962 she was promoted to the rank of commander. The reason for the award of the French Legion of Honour is not known by the author for sure. However, I suspect it was for her Resistance work in World War Two. The reason for the series of awards in the Legion of Honour is that during this time frame the first award could only be made at the lowest grade ie AKnight@. An individual could only be awarded a higher grade after spending a certain number of years in a specific grade. I have only posted pictures of the Legion of Honour, Commander Grade. Only the highest grade could be worn at one time. The search for a record of her other awards continues.

                assistpub2ta.jpg assistpub2tr.jpg legion_d___honne_50f5cb3f899f2.jpg

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hello Gordon

                  the insignia under medals is an association badge Forces Françaises Combattantes (veteran's badge)

                  cordially
                  Didier
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Didier,

                    Thanks for the identification.

                    Regards,

                    Gordon

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Proud looking lady

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