October 27, 1917 – April 11, 1945
Jean Ducret vor 1943 (private collection)
Jean Ducret was born in the mountain village of Saint-Eustache (Rhône-Alpes). From early childhood, Ducret worked alongside his siblings on his parents’ farm. He was twenty-five years old in late 1942 when the French Free Zone was occupied by the Germans. Ducret’s district became the arena of numerous resistance actions.
On December 22, 1943, three German soldiers died in an exchange of fire with partisans near Saint-Eustache. The occupiers’ retribution followed shortly thereafter. On the morning of December 31, SS and Wehrmacht forces rounded up the village inhabitants, arresting every tenth person. By these means they aimed to capture partisans and crush support for them among the civilian population.
Jean Ducret was among those arrested. He arrived in Flossenbürg in February 1944 via the Compiègne police prison and the Buchenwald concentration camp. One month later, he was transferred to the Hradischko subcamp. At Hradischko, Ducret was put to work on the physically grueling expansion of an SS military training ground. Shortly before the end of the war, the SS in Hradischko conducted a targeted execution of non-German prisoners. Jean Ducret was shot on April 11, 1945. Of the twenty-four men deported from Saint-Eustache, only seven returned from the concentration camps.
Letter from Jean Ducret to his parents from the Hradischko subcamp, June 11, 1944 (private collection)