Georges Mandel (1895-1944), born in Chatou, started out in politics very young alongside Georges Clémenceau and became a journalist, using his mother’s surname as a pseudonym. His father’s surname, Rothschild, was not quite suitable for the situation. Anti-Semites had a field day with his choice. As Clémenceau’s Chief of Staff during the First World War, and Member of Parliament for the Médoc region from 1919 to 1924 and from 1928 to 1940, Mandel, despite a nasal voice, was a remarkable speaker. Like his political mentor, Mandel showed outstanding wit and a sharp sense of humour, often making enemies and showing total contempt for them. He showed vision in his speech concerning Remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1934, stating that conflict with Nazi Germany could not be avoided, was a pioneer of television during his term of office as Minister of Post and Communications (1934-1936), and became Minister of French Colonies in 1938. Mandel ended his political career as Minister of the Interior in the Paul Reynaud Government in May 1940.
Instead of flying to England as Churchill offered, and as De Gaulle did, he chose to board the Massilia at the Mole d’Escale in the Verdon and to travel to Casablanca. Choosing to continue the war from “the Colonies” turned out not to be a good idea. He was immediately imprisoned when he arrived, then judged in Riom in 1942 and deported to Buchenwald. He was “returned to France” on July 4, 1944, on a personal order from Himmler. Released from the Santé prison by the Darnand militia on July 7, 1944 at 5 pm, he was murdered in Fontainebleau forest two hours later. This treacherous act committed by the militia manipulated by the SS secret service SD Sipo was compounded by the fact that the execution was made to look like a Gaullist attack.