March 26, 1904 – September 5, 1944
Major Gustave Biéler, 1940 (private collection)
Gustave Biéler was born in the town of Beurlay in France. He and his parents were both Swiss citizens. Biéler emigrated to Canada at age twenty. In Montreal, he first worked as a teacher and later as a translator for an insurance company.
In 1940, the father of two children reported for military service. Shortly afterwards, he was sent to England where he was recruited as an agent by the Special Operation Executive, a section of the British Secret Service. Gustave Biéler received the alias “Guy.” After a special training, he was parachuted into France in late 1942. In spite of a serious back injury he received while entering France, Biéler was able to establish a network of saboteurs in the region around St. Quentin and Lille. He also carried out strikes againstimportant military installations.
Gustave Biéler shortly after his emigration to Canada, 1925 (private collection)
Biéler was arrested by the Gestapo in January 1944. Even under extremely brutal torture, Biéler refused to reveal information. In April, severely injured, he was interned along with fourteen other agents as a special prisoner at Flossenbürg. The SS held Gustave Biéler as a prisoner under particularly harsh conditions in the detention building. On September 5, 1944, Biéler was shot by an execution commando.
Street sign in honor of Gustave Biéler (alias Guy), Fonsomme (France), 1945 (private collection)