"Nicole", a French Partisan who captured 25 Germans in the Chartres area, posing with a German MP 40
with which she is most proficient (August 1944 caption)
|Born||3 October 1925|
|Other names||Nicole Minet|
|Known for||French Resistance fighter|
Simone Segouin (born 3 October 1925), also known by her nom de guerre Nicole Minet, is a former French Resistance fighter who served in the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans group. Among her first acts of resistance was stealing a bicycle from a German female military messenger, which she then used to help carry messages. She went on to take part in large-scale or otherwise perilous missions, such as capturing German troops, derailing trains, and acts of sabotage.
Segouin was born in Chartres, France, and grew up alongside three brothers. Her father had been a decorated soldier during World War I. She attended school until the age of 14, at which point she began work on the family farm.
In an interview with Jack Belden, published in Life magazine in 1944 under the headline 'The Girl Partisan of Chartres', Segouin and 'Lieutenant Roland' explained that Segouin's involvement with the Resistance arose after the two met when she was 17. The lieutenant instructed her in the use of a submachine gun, and introduced Segouin to other members of his group. In order to join the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans, Segouin obtained false identity papers, which established her as Nicole Minet. These papers identified her as being from the port of Dunkirk, which had been bombed early in the war making it difficult for Germans to verify their authenticity.
Segouin began by acting as a messenger and carrying out other small jobs, and later became more actively involved after participating in a successful 'train-exploding expedition'. Lieutenant Roland was Roland Boursier, with whom Segouin went on to have six children. The couple never married, and all of the children bore Segouin's name.
Segouin was present at the liberation of Chartres on 23 August 1944, and the liberation of Paris two days later. She was promoted to lieutenant and awarded the Croix de Guerre. Of her role in the Resistance she said:
I was fighting for the resistance, that's all. If I had to start over, I would, because I have no regrets. The Germans were our enemies, we were French.
Segouin gained international notoriety when photographs of her by American photographer Robert Capa were published in Life weeks after the capture of 25 German soldiers in which she took part. Belden concluded his piece on her by noting:
I could find no trace of what is conventionally called toughness in Nicole. After routine farm life, she finds her present job thrilling and exhilarating. Now that the war is passing beyond her own home district she does not think of going back to the farm. She wants to go on with the Partisans and help free the rest of France.
After the war, Segouin became a pediatric nurse in Chartres. A street in Courville-sur-Eure, where she currently lives, was named for her. In response to the honour, Segouin said:
I’m very glad to know that people are not indifferent to this period of my life.
In 2020, the Village Hall in Thivars was named for Segouin.
- ^ Murray, James (17 April 2016). "'I was proud to march into Paris as Resistance fighter' says Simone Segouin". Express.co.uk. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
- ^ "Simone Segouin, the 18 year old French Resistance fighter, 1944 - Rare Historical Photos". Rare Historical Photos. 2014-08-17. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
- ^ a b c d "L'incroyable histoire de Simone Segouin, la jeune femme qui a permis l'arrestation de 25 soldats allemands à seulement 18 ans en 1944" [The incredible story of Simone Segouin, the young woman who allowed the arrest of 25 German soldiers at just 18 years old in 1944]. Atlantico.fr (in French). Retrieved 2020-10-23.
- ^ a b c d e Belden, Jack (September 4, 1944). "The Girl Partisan of Chartres". Life. p. 20. Photographs by Robert Capa.
- ^ a b c d Montero, Almu (2015-11-17). "Simone Segouin, combatiente en la Resistencia Francesa" ["Simone Segouin, combatiente en la Resistencia Francesa".]. www.naiz.eus (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-10-23.
- ^ a b "Girl with a Gun - Simone Segouin". Accidental Talmudist. 2020-04-29. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
- ^ "Proces Verbal de la Seance du Conseil Municipal du 12 Julliet 2011" [Minutes of the Town Council Meeting of 12 July 2011] (PDF) (in French). Commune de Courville sur Eure. 7 December 2011.
- ^ France, Centre (2020-01-20). "Société - Simone Segouin, figure emblématique de la Résistance en Eure-et-Loir donne son nom à la salle des fêtes de Thivars" [Simone Segouin, emblematic figure of the Resistance in Eure-et-Loir, gives her name to the village hall of Thivars]. www.lechorepublicain.fr (in French). Retrieved 2020-10-23.