France / Biography

Addi Bâ Mamadou


Addi Bâ Mamadou, or Hady Bah Mamadou, was born in 1916 in Guinea. During the Second World War, he was a soldier in the French Army and later became a resistance fighter who led the first maquis of the Vosges, a range of low mountains in Eastern France. He became very popular with the locals but was then captured by the Nazis who shot him in 1943. Today he remains a local hero of the Lamarche region.

Addi Bâ was born on the 25th of December 1916 in Pelli-Foulayabé, a Guinean village. At the start of World War II, he volunteered for French Army and was enlisted in in the 12th regiment of Senegalese Tirailleurs. During the final days of the Battle of France, his battalion was stopped by German forces on 18 June 1940. While most of his fellow soldiers were captured, Addi Bâ successfully escaped capture with some of his comrades.

He found refuge in the village of Tollaincourt thanks to the complicity of the mayor and local officials, including the police. Working officially as a farm worker, he continued to fight the German occupying forces as part of the resistance. After meeting Marcel Arburger, a local who immediately engaged as a resistant, he began to smuggle Jewish and people of colour into Switzerland.

With his friend Marcel Arburger, they became the two leaders of the civilian resistance in the region. Addi Bâ founded the first maquis of the Vosges, the “Camp de la Délivrance”(Camp of Deliverance). He travelled the region to recruit over a hundred French youth into the Resistance who wanted to avoid working in the German Compulsory Work Service

In July 1943, German soldiers discovered the maquis resistance group and enforced its disbandment. Addi Bâ and Marcel Arburger were arrested, tortured, and later condemned to death by the local Feldkommandatur. On the 18th of December, Arburger and Bâ were shot.

Even though at first he didn’t receive recognition as a hero of the Resistance due to his ethnic background, his memory remained vivid in the region after the war. His personal notes on the Koran, his reputation, and memories from those who served alongside him turned his life into a local legend. Thanks to the work of the local inhabitants of Tollaincourt, he received posthumously the French Resistance medal 2003, almost 60 years after his friend Marcel Arburger.