Person: Audin, Maurice
Maurice Audin was a French mathematician and an activist in the anticolonialist cause, who died under torture by the French state during the Battle of Algiers.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Tunisia had been occupied by France in 1880 and Louis Audin was in the French military, sent to Béja as part of French control of the country.
- In 1946 Audin transferred to the military school in Autun, Saône-et-Loire, in France.
- It had been the intention that Audin would become an officer in the military but after two years at the school, in 1948, he gave up ideas of a military career and went to the lycée Émile-Félix Gautier where he studied mathematics.
- Graduating from the lycée Émile-Félix Gautier, Audin entered the University of Algiers.
- Audin was taught by de Possel among others and he was awarded his degree in June 1953.
- Audin was appointed as an assistant to René de Possel in February 1953 and this temporary position became permanent in 1954.
- Audin began publishing papers on the research he was undertaking.
- These results from Audin's thesis will, he promises, appear in a later paper with full proofs.
- The Algerian war of independence began on 1 November 1954 and Audin, a member of the Communist Party of Algeria which he joined in 1950, strongly supported Algeria's right to be independent of France.
- Audin explained to Schwartz that as a member of the Communist Party of Algeria, a banned organisation, he was under continuous threats from the French forces.
- After visiting Schwartz in Paris, Audin returned to the University of Algiers and continued working on his thesis.
- Under torture, and threats against his wife, he admitted that in April he had treated Paul Caballero, the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Algeria, at Audin's home.
- On the late evening of 11 June 1957 Audin was arrested by Captain Devis, Lieutenant Philippe Erulin and soldiers of the Paratroop Division.
- On the day after the arrest, Henri Alleg, a friend and fellow member of the Communist Party of Algeria, visited Audin's house.
- Alleg was told that he would be subjected to even worse torture and to convince him of how severe this would be, on 19 June the troops brought Audin to him.
- Audin was in a very bad condition, had obviously been severely tortured, and when instructed to explain what further interrogation would be like, simply said to Alleg, "It's hard, Henri!" Audin was never seen again, except by the French troops interrogating him.
- "Audin, tell him what's waiting for him.
- "It's hard, Henri," Audin said.
- on the evening of 21 June, as he was being transferred by jeep from El Biar to the precinct house where his interrogation was to take place, Audin jumped from the back seat and ran.
- Audin's escort, Sergeant Misigri, fired a burst from his automatic pistol and then pursued his prisoner on foot.
- He encountered an inhabitant of the neighbourhood, Dr Jean Mairesse, who had seen from his terrace the shadow of a figure heading in the direction in which Audin had presumably fled.
- Two important things happened, however, the Maurice Audin committee was set up in November 1957 and Audin's thesis was accepted posthumously on 2 December.
- an initiative of de Possel: why not pass the thesis of Audin at the Sorbonne "in absentia", (in fact a posthumous thesis)?
- It was decided that de Possel would present Audin's results on the board.
- This led to Josette Audin's civil suit being dismissed in April 1962.
- The Audin Committee, however, worked to assemble evidence about Audin's death.
- In January 1960 the journalist Georges Ras wrote in the Voix du nord that the Audin Committee did not have any proof of its allegations and that it had been deliberately deceiving the public.
- Eventually, in 1969, judges ruled that Ras had libelled the Audin Committee and awarded the Committee the symbolic amount of 1 franc in damages.
- General Paul Aussaresses, who was the intelligence officer for the Paratroop Division that arrested Audin, stated in May 2001 that he had ordered Lieutenant Charbonnier to question Audin.
- With this statement, Josette Audin tried again to bring a complaint for unlawful confinement, but it was dismissed.
- In 2012 François Hollande set up a Ministry of Defence investigation into the circumstances of Audin's death.
- General Paul Aussaresses had died on 3 December 2013 and on 8 January 2014 the journalist Jean-Charles Deniau reported that Aussaresses had admitted before his death that he had ordered that Audin be killed.
- François Hollande, however, admitted in June 2014 that the official version that Audin had escaped was false and that there were documents which established that he died in custody.
- recognises, in the name of the French Republic, that Maurice Audin was tortured then executed or tortured to death by the soldiers who arrested him at his home.
- On the day he issued the statement, President Macron visited Josette Audin, now 87 years old, at her home in the Paris suburb of Bagnolet.
Born 14 February 1932, Béja, Tunisia. Died 21 June 1957, Algiers, Algeria.
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive