Moulin was a hero of the French Resistance in World War Two who united the scattered elements of spontaneous French partisan activity against German occupation.
Jean Moulin was born on 20 June 1899 in Beziers, south west France, the son of a history professor. He enlisted in the army in 1918 but never saw action. After World War One, Moulin joined the civil service and rose rapidly to become prefect, or regional administrator, of Chartres, the youngest holder of the office in France
Moulin's politics were of the extreme left, and it was no surprise when, in June 1940, he was arrested by the occupying Gestapo and tortured as a suspected communist. Moulin tried to commit suicide by cutting his own throat but a guard found him and he was taken to hospital, where he recovered. By November 1940, the Vichy government ordered all elected left-wing officials to be sacked. Moulin, now recovered, refused to sack anyone and was himself dismissed from his post. From then on he devoted his life to resisting the Germans. In September 1941, he was smuggled out of France to London to meet Charles de Gaulle, leader of the 'Free French', and other exiled French leaders. In January 1942, he was parachuted back into France, to set up an organised Resistance movement. His code name was 'Max'.
Shortly after setting up the National Council of the Resistance in May 1943, Moulin was betrayed and on 21 June he was captured. He was interrogated by the Gestapo in Lyon and Paris and died, as a result of torture, on 8 July 1943 on a train taking him to Germany.