Civilian living en France
Birth place – Cabaços, Viana do Castelo
Birth date – 26/04/1901
Death date – 28/06/1944
João Fernandes de Barros worked as a lumberjack for the Société d’Exploitations Forestières à Saint Yrieux, when on June 28, 1944, accompanied by two other Portuguese - Norberto Coelho and Manuel das Neves -, he was shot by German soldiers.
Testimonies from Campazieux, in the commune of St. André d'Allas, where João de Barros and the other Portuguese lived stated that the Germans forced them “to a nearby forest” and that shortly afterwards shots were heard.
Only the next day the tenant from two of them, felt safe to leave its house. In the woods nearby the shot bodies from the Portuguese were found. Nearby was also the body of a Dutchman - M. Siebrugh - who also lived in the village.
The Portuguese had almost certainly be stolen by the Germans.
João Fernandes de Barros ha a wallet with 275 francs, but the French authorities believed that several thousand more had been stolen.
Married and father of several children living in Portugal, he had tried to return to his country in June of the previous year, but was forced back because of a passport visa problem. He hadn't sent money to his family for a long time either, because that kind of remittance was severely controlled due to the war.
The D-Day Allied landing had happened weeks before and several German columns advanced through France to face them. These troops also faced French resistance groups along the way and got involved in attacks and looting acts on the civilian population.
The bodies were buried in the Saint André d'Allas cemetery.
A protest was sent by the Portuguese authorities to the German Legation in Lisbon “reserving the right to ask for a fair and adequate compensation”.
Arquivo Histórico-Diplomático, MNE §