Manuel, António



Civilian living in France

Birth place – Colomeses (?)
Birth date – 12/01/1894

Death date – 09/08/1944 
Father – Manuel (?)
Mother – Maria Rosa

Monument commemorating the massacre in which Antonio Manuel died  <br /> <span style="font-size: x-small">(Photo: Office de Tourisme Pays de Langres)</span>

Monument commemorating the massacre in which Antonio Manuel died
(Photo: Office de Tourisme Pays de Langres)

António Manuel was one of the seventeen civilian victims of a massacre carried out by German SS paratroopers on August 9, 1944. An act of revenge following a sabotage that caused the derailment of the train carrying the soldiers.

The explosion, of small magnitude, happened around 9:00 pm as the locomotive and carriages with about 150 SS paratroopers passed by. No injuries were reported on the train, but two carriages derailed.

The soldiers left the convoy and surrounded a nearby farm where were women, children and a some workers. Several men were killed and the women and children were taken hostage, while the house, outbuildings and other equipment were destroyed and set on fire.

The Portuguese was not a worker on the farm and would be returning home after a day's work elsewhere. It is possible that he passed too close or that, hearing the explosions and seeing flames on the farm, he ran to help. Caught by the Nazis, he was lined up against an embankment and shot. With him, in the same place and under the same circumstances, three other Frenchmen died.

In the nearest town, Saint-Broingt-les-Fosses, 50 kilometers north of Dijon, the population not only heard the explosions but also watched the flames spread, but fearing reprisals from the Germans, the majority did nothing.

The owner of the farm was in town and received a call from his wife not to return, but he did so accompanied by other workers. They were killed and photographed with Free French Forces banners on their arms. It would have been a way of justify the massacre since the resistance later assured that none of those men were part of their movement.

Hours after the fires started, a group of men from the nearest town advanced towards the farm with the aim of providing some help, but they were intercepted by the Germans who killed some and took other hostages.

The soldiers then advanced to the village of Prauthoy where they disarmed the local police and terrorized the villagers. Only the next day, around 12.30 hours, they boarded the train again and continued the journey, leaving behind a trail of destruction and several dead.

António Manuel (Antonio Manoel as he also appears in the French documentation) is buried with the others next to the embankment where he was shot, and his name is remembered in the monument that marks the massacre built in the same place.

It was impossible to confirm the birthplace of António Manuel as I was unable to fin a place in Portugal with the name of Colomeses. The closest was the village of Colmeal, in the municipality of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. If you have any other suggestions, please send me an email. The link is at the bottom of this page.

Carlos Guerreiro