The resistance in Nord-Pas-de-Calais
There were no maquis, due to the massive presence of the occupying troops; on the other hand, there were many active intelligence networks, which were very useful to the Allies.
In 1942-1943, the British secret services established a very effective network of action in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, "Sylvestre-Farmer", led by an exceptional man, Michael Trotobas. However, he was killed in Lille in November 1943, after organising a series of spectacular sabotage actions. The Communist party, dissolved in 1939, was rapidly rebuilt in secrecy. During the first few months of the Occupation, it confined itself to strict neutrality vis-à-vis the occupying forces. However, things changed in the spring of 1941: it was the Communist militants who organised and led the big miners' strike in Nord and Pas-de-Calais (27 May to 6 June), which combined social demands with patriotic sentiment. The strike was harshly repressed: 250 miners were transported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
From the summer of 1941, a merciless combat in the mining area pitted the Communist party action groups against the German and French police, who acted in complete collaboration. More than half of the attacks and acts of sabotage carried out in France by the Resistance, in 1941 and 1942, took place in Nord and Pas-de-Calais. Between 1940 and 1944, 1,143 men were shot (in Lille and the surrounding area, in the citadel of Arras), and over 5,000 people (men and women) were deported to concentration camps. In November 1943, the foundation of the Departmental Liberation Committees (CDL) aimed to unify the actions of the various Resistance units. These were considerably weakened, however, at the end of 1943 - beginning of 1944, by the waves of arrests by the German police.