France Libre, Occupation made Liberation Flag.

Sub-collection: Europe

A rare and perilously home-produced flag of the Vichy France resistance movement
During the Second World War and the occupation of France by Germany, exiled French citizens opposed to the occupation proudly flew General Charles De Gaulle's France Libre or Free French flag; featuring the centuries-old Cross of Lorraine. Free French flags were made and issued to Free French Forces by the Allies; however, all French examples are homemade. From 1939 until liberation in 1944, the manufacture and use of the Free French flag in occupied France itself invited death or imprisonment.

Although the Free French flag was most commonly displayed by exiled French military forces outside of France; in parallel with this conventional military effort, urban resistance movements within France were created under the name 'Forces Franaises de l'Intrieur' or French Forces of the Interior (FFI) and 'Maquis' or literally The Bush the name for the primarily rural resistance. Both of these movements made use of the Free French symbol to difference them from the unpopular collaborationist Vichy regime, which continued to use the plain French Tricolore. During the occupation, in 1944 a patriotic Frenchwoman crocheted this flag at great personal peril. After liberation the flag was framed and preserved. Subsequently, and perhaps on one of his many trips to Europe, this flag was acquired by Mr. John Tuteur, President of the Paramount Flag Company of San Francisco, CA, who displayed it in his personal office before conveying it to Dr. Whitney Smith, the Director of the Flag Research Center of Winchester, MA.

The Cross of Lorraine had traditionally symbolized Joan of Arc, born in Lorraine in eastern France, and also made up part of Lorraine's heraldic arms. Because Germany annexed the northern third of Lorraine along with Alsace from 1871 to 1918 and again in 1940, the Cross came to serve as a rallying point for French patriots. The Carmelite priest and naval Lieutenant Commander Thierry d'Argenlieu understood this when he suggested it as a symbol of the Free French Forces and as an answer to the Nazis' swastika. Free French warships and aircraft displayed the Cross, as did the medal of the Order of Liberation, France's second highest honor after the Legion dHonneur for distinguished military service during WWII.
A one-hundred-sixty-four-foot-high Cross of Lorraine memorializes Charles De Gaulle in his home village of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises in the Haute-Marne department in northeastern France. Gaullist political groups such as Rally for the Republic have used the Cross to evoke De Gaulle's vision of a France with the will to maintain a central presence on the world stage.
Free French flags are scarce; patriotic homefront examples like this are exceedingly rare and almost never come to auction. The flag's original frame and partial identification label remain; still visible handwritten in ink and a typical French writing style of the female manufacturer is "Le drapeau Francais aux Croix du Lorraine 1944" or 'The flag of France with the Cross of Lorraine 1944'. Some other words are missing.

The flag measures 12" x 21", and is in good overall condition with minor fading where the flag was folded to fit the frame. The original flag and frame (with glass) are in excellent condition except that a piece of the cardboard which backed up the reverse of the frame is missing. The measurements of the flag are 12" x 21" (32 x 53 cm).

ZFC Significant Flag
Item is Framed (NB: Frame for this is in Frame Repair Box #0385)

• Made in Occupied France, 1944.
• Purchased in France by John Tuteur, San Francisco, CA, 1966-1978.
• Displayed at Paramount Flag Company, San Francisco, CA, until 1989.
• Acquired by purchase by Dr. Whitney Smith, Winchester, MA, in 1989.
• Part of Flag Research Center Collection, Winchester, MA, until, 2008.
• Purchase on Internet Auction by Louise Veninga Zaricor for Zaricor Flag Collection, 2008.

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 12.5
Length of Fly 21


Is it framed? yes
Frame Height 16.5
Frame Length 24.5


Are there stars on obverse? no
Are there stars on reverse? no


Number of Stripes 3
Has a Blood Stripe? no
Comments on Stripes vertical rows


Nation Represented France


Method of Attachment None


Condition Good
Damage used, faded
Displayable yes


Date 1944