DANIEL CORDIER, born on, was an art dealer and French historian, and also one of the heroic leaders of the French underground resistance in WWII.
He studied in various Catholic colleges in his youth and was deeply influenced by the anti-Semitic and Maurrassian ideas of his father-in-law whom he admired. He was active at the age of 17 in the rightist Action Francaise and founded the Charles-Maurras circle in Bordeaux. Indeed, as he recognizes in Alias Caracalla , as an admirer of Maurras, he was, at the start of the war, anti-semitic, anti-socialist, anti-Communist anti-democratic and and ultrtanationalist, even wishing, after his rallying to free France , that Leon Blum be shot at the end of the war. He writes in his autobiography that he would never have joined the Resistance without having read the articles of the theorist of “integral nationalism”. But unlike his mentor, he refused the armistice offered by German out of patriotism.
After having been a member of the National Federation of King’s Camelots , he joined Free France in June 1940.
In June 1940, he was with his family is Basses-Pyranees, impatiently awaiting his being drafted into the French armed resistance, scheduled for July 10 . On June 17, he heard Marshal Petain’s first speech as head of government , expecting the “victor of Verdun” to urge the continuation of the war; he was outraged by the announcement of the petition for an armistice. The same day, he prints and distributes a leaflet “Against Pétain” .
After having gathered sixteen volunteers and hoping that the French Empire might continue the war, he embarks on June 21 in Bayonne on a Belgian ship, the cargo ship Léopold II , which was to go to Algeria. The boat finally made its way to Britain.
In June 1940 in the first Free French Forces of the “Legion de Gaulle”. He was astoninshed to discover he was in association with socialists and communists, among whom he met George Bidault and to whom he remained linked through his life. In transit for a few days at the Olympia hotel, he was assigned to the a battallion of hunters then in formation and arrived at the beginning of July at Delville Camp ( Aldershot), to train there until the end of the month. The battalion was then installed at the Old Dean camp (Camberley), where Daniel Cordier completed his military training and obtains the rank of Lieutenant.
He then became Secretary to Jean Moulin, a French civil servant who served as the first President of the National Council of the Resistance from May 1943 until his death less than two months later. Moulin had a great influence Cordier’s politics and moved him to the left. He was made a companion of the Liberation in 1944. After the war he became a respected art dealer , critic, collector and organizer of exhibitions, before devoting himself to work as a historian and to militate for the LGBT rights .
He became an LGBT activist through the publication of his autobiography in 2009 under the title Alias Caracalla : Memories, 1940-1943 , where he revealed his homosexuality which he felt he had to hide at the time, because “the hatred towards homosexuality was terrible.”. In 2013, he was a supporter of marriage equality in France .
Les Feux de Saint-Elme , published in 2014, is the diary of his years spent in boarding school, which chronologically precedes Alias Caracalla and which he publishes while waiting to be finished with volume II of his memoirs (unpublished), It is the story of his emotional and sexual awakening in the Saint-Elme college in Arcachon, a religious boarding school for boys in which he spent his adolescence. He became torn by the contradictory influences of Gide and the teachings of the Catholic Church in the person of his confessor, who persuades him to renounce his love for a boy named David Cohen. This episode was to mark his entire life.
He was a friend of Roland Barthes and the tutor of the young Herve Vilard whom he encouraged to become a singer.
His death was marked by tributes from President Emmanuel Macron and other French leaders, honoring his service in the war. He is buried under a marble pyramid in the Pere-LaChaise cemetary.