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Lille during World War II

In 1940, following the period known as the "Phoney War," Nazi Germany invaded France and occupied the city of Lille, in the Nord department of northern France, from May 31 of that year until September 4, 1944. During the occupation, the city of nearly 200,000 was incorporated into Belgium under a single occupation authority. On the night of May 9–10, 1940, German armored vehicles crossed the Ardennes to the southeast. German bombers focused their attacks on strategic points, such as the railway line in the Lille suburb of Lambersart; the German army advanced occupying Luxembourg and Belgium before reaching Lille on May 27. After three panzer divisions attacked from west of the Deûle river and British soldiers withdrew from the city, leaving only a few pioneer regiment units, eighty administrative clerks, a thousand Senegalese soldiers entrenched in the Citadel of Lille. Though otherwise ill-equipped, the Senegalese regiment's armored vehicles allowed them to resist the siege for four days. To prevent strategic resources from falling into German hands, the British destroyed the Boitelle telephone center and burned a stockpile of military equipment that could not be escorted to the zone libre in time.

On the morning of May 28, German patrols defeated pockets of resistance around the Rue de Solférino, the Rue Nationale, the Haute-Deûle. Field headquarters were set up in the Place du Général-de-Gaulle known as the Grand'Place. On May 31, the last remaining resistance on the Boulevard de Dunkerque in Lambersart and in the Citadel laid down their arms; the Battle of Lille ended on June 1, when French soldiers were marched through the city streets and the Grand'Place. The final death toll was 174, including 15 civilians, 128 French soldiers, 1 British soldier, 30 German soldiers. Two bridges and two hundred and twenty buildings were destroyed, including the Place de Tourcoing and the buildings surrounding the Porte de Béthune; the Lille city center was left undamaged by aerial raids during the German occupation. In contrast, outlying neighborhoods endured numerous attacks. Most affected were the Lille-Fives metalworks factories, the SNCF workshops in Hellemmes, the Lille-Délivrance classification yard, the spinning mills in the Moulins neighborhood of Lille, as well as the Kuhlmann chemical complexes in Loos and Marquette.

The German High Command in Paris had no authority over the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments, which were instead incorporated into Belgium under the purview of the Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France, based in Brussels. Germany's intent was to weaken France by depriving it of two departments that contained numerous sources of wealth; the Military Administration's field headquarters, OFK 670, in Lille was based at the Lille Chamber of Commerce and led by General Heinrich Niehoff. General Niehoff held full authority over Pas-de-Calais. On April 17, 1941, an order of the OFK 670 stated that "the execution of the following laws, orders and decisions emanating from the French government has been forbidden with retroactive effect within the administrative area of the OFK 670." Fifty-six decrees were nullified following this declaration. Within the Lille administrative area, OFK 569 handled matters such as security services, postal services, civil unrest, passive defense, ration cards, counter-espionage.

In Lille, acts of resistance consisted of disobedience and the distribution of clandestine newspapers, such as L'Homme libre by Jean-Baptiste Lebas. The plains of the Nord département made it difficult to establish any maquis, as in the more mountainous regions. Moreover, numerous German contingents were posted to Lille. Few attempts were made to directly sabotage German installations. Out of those that were sabotaged, most were railways. German soldiers and collaborators in the area were occasionally found dead. Three major networks operating in Lille and the greater administrative area in France were active: "Sylvestre Farmer": a French affiliate network created by Churchill. Destroyed 22 transformers and 12 circuit breakers in Lille-Fives, for example on June 26, 1943. "OCM": a movement created in Paris in November 1940. Active in the distribution of clandestine newspapers and the collection of intelligence military-related intelligence. "FTP": a network created in 1942 and run by the PCF, led by Jacques Duclos.

Examples of acts of sabotage: November 4, 1940: cables sabotaged at La Madeleine The night of May 26–27, 1941: officer murdered in Lille January 9, 1943: Army depot in Lille attacked November 5, 1943: train derailed between Lille and Tourcoing In June 1940 and August–September 1944, the city's residents had tense relations with their German occupiers. The oldest among them still bore the scars of the previous German occupation during the First World War, while the youngest were unnerved by the Nazi regime; the German authorities stepped up their efforts to maintain cordial relations with the residents of Lille, in order to facilitate plans to incorporate Nord and Pas-de-Calais into one great Flemish State. To that end, they opened canteens, lent aid to the elderly, offered sweets to children. In April 1940, Lille and five other cities in the region obtained substantial supplies of foodstuffs and clothing. Around 1,450 tonnes of meat were stored in the refrigerated warehouses of Lille. In May 1940, many shops began to be looted by hungry refugees.

The Prefe

Ismael Quintana

Ismael Quintana was a Puerto Rican singer and composer of salsa music. Quintana was born in Puerto Rico, his family moved to The Bronx sector of New York. In 1961, bandleader Eddie Palmieri heard Quintana sing in an audition and invited him to join his newly-organized conjunto La Perfecta. Quintana accepted and became the lead singer of the band between 1961 and 1971. During this time he co-wrote some of Palmieri's major hit songs. With Palmieri, Quintana was awarded the 1966 Trophy for the "Most Popular Latin Singer of the Year", awarded at the famed Palladium Ballroom in New York. Quintana signed with Vaya Records. Between 1974 and 1983, he recorded five albums as a solo artist, scoring his first major hit with "Mi Debilidad". In addition to a solo career, Quintana participated with the Fania All-Stars and went on tour with them to Africa, France and South America and the United States. In 1976, he made an appearance with Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars. During the 1980s he recorded "Háblame Ahora" with Papo Lucca.

Quintana semi-retired from the world of music because of health issues and lived with his family in New York. He moved with his family to Colorado where, on April 2016, he died of heart failure. Quintana was buried in the city where he was born, at Cementerio La Piedad, he was survived by his wife Yolanda and three children: Ismael and Jessica. Among Quintana's recordings are the following: "Punto y Aparte". "Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta". Live recording. El Sonido Nuevo "Bamboléate": Eddie Palmieri & Cal Tjader" "Live at Yankee Stadium, Vol. 2". "Homenaje a Beny Moré", Vol. 1. "Vladimir and His Orchestra: New Sound in Latin Jazz". "Salsa con Dulzura". "Songs Mama Never Taught Me". List of Puerto Ricans List of people from Ponce, Puerto Rico Popular Culture