André Dewavrin

André Dewavrin DSO, MC (9 June 1911 – 21 December 1998) was a French officer who served with Free French Forces intelligence services during World War II.

André Dewavrin
André Dewavrin.jpg
Born(1911-06-09)9 June 1911
Paris, France
Died21 December 1998(1998-12-21) (aged 87)
Paris, France
Allegiance France
Service/branchFrench Army
Years of service1932–1946
Commands heldBureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action
Battles/warsWorld War II
Other workBusinessman

He was born in Paris, the son of a businessman. He graduated as an army engineer and in 1938 began to teach as a professor in Saint Cyr military academy.

After the outbreak of World War II, Dewavrin was assigned to Norway in 1940 before he joined General Charles de Gaulle in Britain. He received the rank of major, took charge of the Free French military intelligence unit Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action (BCRA), and took the codename "Colonel Passy". He began to help organize the French Resistance movement and cooperated with the SOE.

Some of Dewavrin's closest colleagues – Captain Fourcaud and Lieutenant Duclos – were Cagoulards (a right-wing group), but Dewavrin always denied that he was. He insisted that he had supported the Republic during the Spanish Civil War and had opposed the Munich Agreement.[1]

Dewavrin collated information from the French Resistance and planned operations for 350 agents who were parachuted to France to work with them. He secretly traveled to France on occasion to meet with the Resistance and coordinate intelligence gathering and sabotage. On 23 February 1943 Dewavrin parachuted to France alongside Pierre Brossolette to meet with Jean Moulin.

Later in 1943 Dewavrin's organization was merged with the conventional secret service of the Free French Forces to form DGSS under Jacques Soustelle. Dewavrin served as Soustelle's technical advisor before he took the lead of the organization in October 1944. After the Normandy Invasion, Dewavrin became Chief of Staff to General Marie Pierre Koenig, the Commander of the French Forces of the Interior.

After the war, Dewavrin was head of intelligence for de Gaulle's provisional government until de Gaulle resigned in January 1946. His successor accused Dewavrin of embezzling Free French money for his own purposes. Dewavrin was jailed for four months in Vincennes. He was eventually acquitted for lack of evidence. British historian Antony Beevor suspects that Dewavrin might have tried to collect money to work against a possible communist takeover attempt.

Dewavrin published three volumes of memoirs in 1947, 1949, and 1951, and eventually retired from the army to become a businessman.

He portrayed himself in Jean Pierre Melville's film, L'Armée des ombres.

According to The Secret War by Max Hastings, a Soviet spy made a claim in a report to Moscow that André Dewavrin was recruited by Canaris to work for the Germans. Hastings stated this report was false, but supplied no reference to support the statement.


  1. ^ Lacouture 1991, p254-5

External linksEdit

  • "Andre Dewavrin : Biography". Spartacus Educational. 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-05-03.
  • Whitney, Craig R. (December 22, 1998). "Andre de Wavrin, 87, 'Col. Passy' of Resistance Fame, Dies". The New York Times. New York. ISSN 0362-4331.
  • "André Dewavrin dit le colonel Passy". Encyclopédie Larousse (in French). 2013.
  • "André Dewavrin-Passy". Ordre de la Liberation (in French). 20 September 2009. Archived from the original on 26 January 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2013.


  • Lacouture, Jean. De Gaulle: The Rebel 1890–1944 (1984; English ed. 1991), 640 pp, W W Norton & Co, London. ISBN 978-0393026993