France just acknowledged using torture in Algeria. Here are searing photos from that war.
French soldiers board a helicopter during "Operation Bigeard" in March 1956, when an armed outbreak in Souk Ahras, south of the Constantine region in Algeria, led to the killing of nine French soldiers. (REPORTERS ASSOCIES/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images) September 14 at 11:45 AM
Between 1954 and 1962, more than 1 million Algerians are believed to have been killed in the brutal conflict that led to the then-French colonyâs independence. At the time, many in France were eager to maintain rule over Algeria, which had been under French control since 1837. The French government responded to the uprising in the North African country by cracking down through the deployment o f hundreds of thousands of troops.
What followed was a bloody and painful conflict that spread through the capital and the countryside. French troops regularly went on missions commonly known as âratissagesâ â" slang used to describe raids on Algerian towns, which often turned deadly.
Armed territorials guard one of the numerous barricades behind which are hidden insurgents in Algeria. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images)
Many Algerians died and many disappeared. Among them was Maurice Audin, a 25-year-old professor and activist. French forces removed him from his apartment in 1957, and he never saw his wife or three children again.
On Thursday, as The Postâs Paris correspondent James McAuley wrote, French President Emmanuel Macron released a statement that publicly acknowledged the French military had use d systemic torture during the conflict. McAuley called it âa step forward in [France] grappling with its colonial legacy.â
In his statement, Macron pointed to Audinâs case specifically, acknowledging that he was killed at the hands of the French military. His disappearance occurred because law enforcement officials were allowed âto arrest, detain and question any âsuspectâ for the purpose of a more effective fight against the opponent,â Macron wrote.
French soldiers arrest civilians during "Operation Bigeard" in March 1956, when an armed outbreak in Souk Ahras, Algeria, led to the killing of nine French soldiers. (Reporters Associes/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images)
âEveryone knows that in Algiers the men and women arrested in these circumstances did not always return,â the statement published by the Elyse e Palace on Thursday said. âSome were released, others were interned, others were brought to justice, but many families lost track of one of their own that year, in the future capital of Algeria.â
The conflict is far from forgotten in modern-day Algeria and France. Some of those who fought in it or lived through it are still alive. One of them is Audinâs widow, Josette. On Thursday, Macron personally visited her at her apartment. Sheâs now 87.
âYou never stopped trying to have the truth recognized,â Macron reportedly told her.
Below is a photo of Audin, years before he was arrested and killed. On Thursday, Macronâs statement said he ârecognized, in the name of the French Republic, that Maurice Audin was tortured and then executed, or tortured to death, by soldiers who arrested him at home.â
Maurice Au din, in a photo taken around 1950. The mathematics assistant teacher at the University of Algiers and a member of the Algerian Communist Party went missing after being arrested June 11, 1957, allegedly by French paratroopers under the command of Gen. Jacques Massu. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)
Charles de Gaulle was elected president of France in December 1958, as the first leader of the countryâs Fifth Republic. For the first years of his presidency, the country was divided over whether Algeria should remain a French colony. Millions of Europeans who had settled in Algeria and came to be known as the pieds-noirs were eager for France to remain in control of the territory they then called home. After the war, more than 1 million fled to France and resettled there.
President Charles de Gaulle gives his first news conference since the end of the Algerian War on Jan. 14, 1963, in Paris. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images)
But in 1959, de Gaulle said that Algerians had the right to âself-determination.â A referendum later decided that Algeria would indeed determine its own future. In 1962, a cease-fire went into effect â" even as those who opposed de Gaulle turned to terrorist attacks.
In July 1962, Algeria officially voted for its independence and won âan Algerian Algeria."
This week, Macron said the French government will open archives to allow the public to research those who disappeared during the war. âWeâre putting the issue of the missing in the center,â his statement said.
Algerian returnees. (Francois Gragnon/Paris Match/Getty Images)
Franceâs Macron admits to militaryâs systematic use of torture in Alg eria war
In France, a 1961 massacre looms large behind a controversial new law
A mosque is at the center of a raw debate in the South of France
Opinion: France should apologize for colonialism in AlgeriaSource: Google News France | Netizen 24 France