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Georges Flandre
His last three years
A Salvation Army officer in France, Georges Flandre, left traces of a dedicated, uncompromising servant of God. Especially during the Nazi era he stood up for justice, peace and brotherhood. Inspired by Christ's example, his testimony has encouraged many people, to remain faithful with an undivided heart until death.
When the young Flandre came into contact with The Salvation Army, he was a dedicated member of the Labour Party. In the first Salvation Army meetings he attended, he not only became aware of the guilt of humankind, but also of his own sin. It became clear to him that the regeneration of others would be possible only through his own renewed personality: First he himself had to be free, cleansed and changed. So he accepted salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. A new life began. The compassion towards his brothers deepened and Jesus' words "follow me" echoed incessantly in his spirit. After many inner struggles, he accepted the call to become a Salvation Army officer, and he gave God the definitive "Yes".
Book about G. Flandre in the Salvation Army Museum Basel
His integration as an officer was marked by a self-sacrificing devotion, especially for the disadvantaged, unfortunate and weak. During the Second World War, General de Gaulle issued a call to the French people to stand together at all costs. Flandre's soul was deeply agitated. In his mind he saw imprisoned patriots, persecuted Jews, deported adolescents and torn families. The triumph of lies and deceitfulness had to be resisted. Flandre put this idea into practice for three years.
In 1941, Major Flandre and his wife received marching orders to Montpellier and they went together with their two sons Olivier and Guy to the new appointment where he took over the responsibility for the Salvation Army in the city and the visiting of the prison. Much suffering and pain touched his heart.
Little by little his accommodation turned into a save haven for deeply tested and persecuted people. With all of them, the Major wept, prayed and struggled to find solutions which he often found. Quickly his apartment developed into a centre for practical assistance, and a collection and distribution centre for food, clothes, etc. Parallel to this the Salvation Army meetings took over the task of intensive prayers of intercession. All activities grew harmoniously together, with effective results, and so Flandre was called "soul of the resistance movement". As a matter of fact, the Major also saw his duty as Salvation Army officer to liberate his country from the diabolical hands of the Nazis. No wonder, he was wanted by the Gestapo and one million French Francs was put on his head.

Before the imminent house search by the police on 3 April 1943 he was able to escape in time and under the pseudonym MONTCALM he went into hiding in Marseilles. This was three months before The Salvation Army was banned in France.
Despite the greatest of dangers, he continued his activities in Marseille and became chief of the resistance of two departments: Bouches-du-Rhone and Vaucluse. But the dark hour of betrayal moved closer. One of his wards whom he trusted led the Gestapo on 27 April 1944 to his hiding-place. The final stage of his rich life started at the prison of Marseille. Despite painful torture he never revealed any names of his brothers. He gave testimony to his 30 fellow prisoners of the liberating grace of God, imparted hope and prepared them for death and the impending glory in heaven. On 13 June l944 Flandre and his fellow patriots were shot in a pine forest in a kneeling position.
Salvation Army Officer Georges Flandre
Georges Flandre
(alias Montcalm)
France paid tribute to the heroic soldier of Jesus Christ with a moving state ceremony. It was in November, shortly after The Salvation Army was again re-established that Pastor Jean Cadi presented his farewell speech in the context of the biblical text in Matt. 16.24: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." With this verse the life of Major Flandre was accurately summarised and his testimony lives on in many hearts. (Lt.Col. L. Holland-Vogel)
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