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La Clusaz Diary: Live Free

On the road between lakeside Annécy and the pretty alpine village of La Clusaz in the Savoie region of eastern France, one passes a monument to men who fell in the March 1944 battles on the plâteau de Glières, and, more particularly, to retreating troops who were gunned down at the spot by a vengeful Wehrmacht. The Savoie was rife with resistance, and after the area was put under martial law in early 1944, more than 500 maquisards retreated to the plateau, where they were pursued by 12,000 troops belonging to the German 157th Alpine division and the collaborationist Vichy régime. The result was ugly.

Live Free2.jpg

For readers whose French is rusty, the oath on the monument is one that, to date, I had only seen in a single other place in the world: Live Free or Die. However, a little research shows that the phrase does have historical antecedents beyond the granite hills.

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