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BEUCLER, JEAN JACQUES (1923–1999)

Fought in the French Army during the campaigns of Italy, France, and Germany. Beucler arrived in Indochina in 1949 as a lieutenant in the 3e Tabor marocain. He was taken prisoner during the battle of Cao Bang in October 1950 and spent the rest of the war in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s (DRV) prison camp no. 1. Freed in 1954, he returned to France and became an active politician. In 1977, he served as a state secretary in the Ministry of Defense. During this time he was deeply involved in veteran affairs and an active supporter of former French prisoners who had been held in Vietnamese camps. He served as president of the Comité d’Entente des Anciens d’Indochine. To bring the cause of the veterans of the Indochina War to French public attention, in 1977 he published Quatre ans avec les Viets, an account of his experiences as a prisoner, and a shorter version entitled Prisonniers des Viets, published in 1979 in Historia. He was most influential, however, as state secretary for Veterans Affairs. On 13 February 1991, he led the charge against the former crossover to the DRV, Georges Boudarel, during a conference on Vietnam held in the French Senate. While Beucler had admitted in his memoirs that lack of health care in extremely insalubrious terrain was the main cause for the massive mortality rates in Vietnamese camps, he saw in Boudarel a traitor, a Stalinist, and a communist guilty of “crimes against humanity”. Until his death, Beucler dedicated himself to mobilizing public opinion against Boudarel and in favor of the veterans of the Indochina and Algerian wars, France’s “forgotten” colonial conflicts. See also  ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS ET AMIS DE L’INDOCHINE ET DU SOUVENIR INDOCHINOIS; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS PRISONNIERS ET INTERNÉS D’INDOCHINE; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES COMBATTANTS DE DIEN BIEN PHU; BOUDAREL AFFAIR; EXPERIENCE OF WAR; MYTH OF WAR.