Jean Moulin was born in Béziers, Languedoc-Roussillon, France on June 20, 1899. As a young man, after World War I, Jean Moulin adopted left-wing politics and joined the civil service where he became the prefect of Chartres, France’s youngest at the time.
During the German occupation, Moulin was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo. While in his cell he attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a piece of broken glass. After recovering, he was released from prison but in the fall of 1940, the Vichy France government ordered all prefects to dismiss left-wing mayors of towns and villages that had been elected to office. Jean Moulin refused to carry out the regime’s orders and was removed from office. In 1941 he fled to London, England where General Charles de Gaulle made him the leader of the resistance in France.
Moulin was parachuted back into France on New Year’s Day, 1942. Moulin's priority was to try and unite all the different resistance groups working in France. In addition though, he brought the funds needed to help set up an underground newspaper with Albert Camus and others. Moulin persuaded the eight major resistance groups to form the "Conseil National de la Resistance."
In France, he was captured by the Gestapo at Lyon in 1943 after a betrayal which is still the subject of controversy. Brutally tortured, he died on July 8, 1943 while being transported to a concentration camp in Germany.