Jean Moulin came from an educated family with Republican convictions in the South of France. For twenty-three years, he served the French Republic as a sous-préfet and prefet, then as Principal Secretary in various ministries. He was also a cartoonist and talented artist, using the pseudonym ‘Romanin’.
His resistance began on 17 June 1940, when he was arrested for refusing to sign a German document falsely blaming Senegalese army troops for civilian massacres. After beatings and in order to avoid dishonour, he attempted suicide by cutting his throat.
After his dismissal by the Vichy government on 2 November 1940, Moulin moved to the South, where he made contact with the first groups of the French Resistance. He eventually reached London and met General Charles de Gaulle in October 1941.
De Gaulle assigned him the task of unifying the resistance groups and creating a Secret Army, to be commanded by General Delestraint. Jean Moulin was the founder and first president of the Conseil national de la Résistance (National Resistance Council).
He was arrested on 21 June 1943 and, despite being severely tortured, revealed no secrets. He died in the train taking him to Germany.
His Ashes were transferred to the Pantheon in 1964.