Marie-Pierre Koenig

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Marie-Pierre Koenig (10 October 1898 Ė 2 September 1970) was a French general. He was head of the Alliance France-Israel.

Koenig commanded a Free French Brigade at the Battle of Bir Hakeim in Libya in 1942 -- after this battle, he helped a group of Zionist troops at Bir-el Harmat, north of Bir Hakeim, who were serving in the British Army, break British rules and engage in a Zionist display.

Marie Pierre Kúnig was born on October 10, 1898, in Caen, France. He fought in the French Army during World War I and served with distinction. After the war, he served with French forces in Morocco.

When World War II broke out, Kúnig returned to France. He was first assigned as a captain to lead French troops originally destined for Norway. After the fall of France, he escaped to England from Brittany.

In London, Kúnig joined general Charles de Gaulle and was promoted to colonel. He became chief of staff in the first divisions of Free French Forces. In 1941 he served in the campaigns in Syria and Lebanon. He was later promoted to general and took command of the First French Brigade in Egypt. His unit of 3700 men held ground against five axis divisions for 16 days at the Battle of Bir Hakeim until they were ordered to evacuate on 11 June 1942.

Later Kúnig served as Free French delegate to supreme Allied headquarters under General Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1944 he was given command of the Free French that took part of the Normandy Invasion. Koenig also served as a military advisor of De Gaulle. In June 1944 he was given command of the French Forces of the Interior to unify various French Resistance groups under de Gaulle's control. Under his command, the FFI stopped range battle in the Maquis to prefer sabotage that helped the invasion army. Important in D-Day, the role of the FFI became decisive in the battle for Normandy and in the landing in the Provence of the American 7th army and French Army B. On 21 August 1944, de Gaulle appointed him military governor of Paris to restore law and order. He was then sent to capture Marshal Petain at the frontier with Switzeland.

After the war, Kúnig became a commander of the French army on the French occupation zone in Germany until 1949. In 1949 he became inspector general in North Africa and in 1950 vice-president of the Supreme War Council. In 1951, after his retirement, he was elected as Gaullist representative to French National Assembly and briefly served as a minister of defense under Pierre MendŤs-France and Edgar Faure until 1955.

Marie Pierre Kúnig died on 2 September 1970, in Neuilly-sur-Seine. In 1984 he was posthumously declared Marshal of France.

In addition to memorials in France, there are streets named after him in Jerusalem, Israel, and in Netanya, Israel.

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