The Insane Exploits Of Pierre Loutrel, A Psychotic Criminal And Member Of The French Gestapo

Pierre Loutrel, also known as Pierrot le Fou, was a petty man who used his connections with the Third Reich to continue his hateful activities during WWII in France. Raised in a peasant family, Loutrel turned to trouble at a young age and escalated into one of the most notorious individuals in France’s history. He was the country’s first “Public Enemy No. 1,” and his acts are still considered some of the worst in the country’s modern history. 

He joined the Gestapo, but even the Gestapo found him to be too much to handle. Drunk, brutal, and ruthless, Loutrel robbed and slayed people without regard for anyone or anything in his path. After WWII, he didn’t skip a beat and continued on with his crooked life, a crooked life that ended up lasting well after his death.  

He Served In The French Military In Africa But Only To Get Out Of Prison

Photo: BrokenSphere/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Pierre Loutrel was born in 1916 in Sarthe, France. As a child, he moved to Marseille, where he was jailed as a teenager. He was only released when he joined the Bat’ d’Af in Africa, a penal battalion in Algeria. He served his “tour in hell,” as it was known, and went to Paris upon release.

He Made Connections In Prison That Led To His Career With Hitler’s Regime

Photo: Sichek/WIkiMedia Commons/Public Domain

Loutrel met Henri Chamberlain, also known as Henri LaFont, in 1940 when he was in prison in the southwestern France. LaFont was a life-long unlawful person and led a prison escape during the chaos of the Third Reich’s invasion. One of the other escapees was a Swedish man named Max Stocklin who went on to introduce LaFont to members of German military intelligence.

LaFont talked his way into working with the Germans, pulling off missions they wouldn’t be able to do.  Lafont enlisted the help of Pierre Bonny, a disgraced former French police officer, in 1941. The gang spent most of its time working to acquire goods on the forbidden market for Germany, but in 1943, they shifted focus to hunting down and killing enemies of the Germans. 

The LaFont — Bonny’s gang — was also known as La Carlingue and recruited other unlawfuls into working as collaborators. One of them was Loutrel.

He Was A Member Of The French Gestapo Until The German Gestapo Dissociated From Him For Committing So Many Vile Acts

Photo: Rpm bln/WikiMedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

When Loutrel joined the French Gestapo, or La Carlingue, he used the position to his advantage. From 1941 to 1945, Loutrel and his buddies spent much of their time at Parisian red light districts and getting into fights, in addition to drinking and killing for the Third Reich. The La Carlinquen headquarters was located at 93 rue Lauriston, and was where they tortured suspected enemies of Germany: pulling their nails and teeth, waterboarding them, and burning them, too.

The number of murders and summary executions Loutrel and his commrades committed raised eyebrows within the German Gestapo. Even they thought he was out of control. Loutrel was supposedly responsible for slaying 80 Resistance fighters all on his own.

He Joined The Resistance Toward The End Of The War And Slayed A German To Prove To The French He was With Them

Photo: Sichek/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Loutrel made the choice to switch sides to the French Resistance in 1944. LaFont and Bonny, for example, were arrested in December 1944 and executed by firing squad for collaboration and war atrocities after a brief trial. Loutrel, on the other hand, was able to demonstrate his devotion to the French cause by claiming he was protecting the Resistance when he shot a German acquaintance name Degatz, who identified him as a member of the Gestapo. 

He Once Went Off With French Actress Martine Carol, Then Apologized By Sending Her Roses

Photo: il_etait_une_fois_hollywood/Instagram

French actress Martine Carol found success first on the stage and later on film. Through the 1940s and 1950s, she appeared in numerous films and was considered the first “femme fatal.”

She was once abscanded with by Loutrel, although the whole event was incredibly brief. Loutrel sent roses the next day to apologize to Carol. Carol had a personal life plagued by bad marriages and drug and alcohol abuse, and she died in 1967.

He Was A Member Of Gang Des Tractions Avant, Named For The Type Of Cars They Drove During Their Heists

Photo: LAPI/Contributor/Roger Viollet

In his post-WWII thievery, Loutrel ran the Gang Des Tractions Avant, an organized unlawful syndicate that robbed banks and committed other various illegal acts in Paris. Made up of form French Gestapo, the members used the same car the Gestapo preferred to conduct their raids, the Citroën Traction Avant.

The Citroën Traction Avant, developed in the 1930s in France, had front-wheel drive, was quick and easy to drive, and was reliable so it was a smart choice. The car itself, however, was expensive to produce and bankrupted the Citroën company, which was then acquired by Michelin.

He Was France’s First Enemy No. 1

Photo: soniastrikesback/Instagram

Loutrel was so well known and his actions were so prolific that newspapers took to calling him Pierrot le Fou (“Crazy Pete”) during his mid-1940s spree. With pressure on them to capture Loutrel, French police escalated their efforts to track him down. His antics earned Loutrel the title of “public enemy No. 1,” the first ever in France.

The name Pierrot le Fou was later given to French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 movie about a man, Pierrot, on the run with a girl fleeing hitmen. 

He Escaped 350 Policemen On One Occasion In 1946

Photo: Library of Congress/Picryl/Public Domain

As the police stepped up efforts to stop Loutrel and his criminal gang, they gathered 350 officers around a cafe where the group was rumored to be meeting. The cops were all there but the unlawfuls were not. A local boy told the police he knew where Loutrel and his gang were, so all 350 police followed to boy to a local inn. The police found some gang members at the inn but not the ones they were looking for. Once again, Loutrel had evaded their efforts. 

He Died After Shooting Himself In The Bladder While Robbing A Store

Photo: Guise/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Loutrel managed to alienate the other members of the Gang des Traction Avant after about a year and a half. He didn’t give up thievary, however, and tried to rob a jewelry store in Paris in 1946. He was on his own, failed to get any money or jewels out of the deal, and as he tried to escape, he shot himself in the bladder while storing his gun. He suffered for five days until he finally died of his wound. 

He Was Buried By His Friends In 1946 And His Body Wasn’t Found Until 1949

Photo: Evan Schaaf/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Loutrel was secretly buried by two of his associates, Georges Bouseseiche and Jo Attia, after his death. Both men had been a members of La Carlingue but Attia had a falling out with LaFont in 1943 and was sent to Mauthausen, a concentration camp in Austria. All three men participated in the Gang des Tractions Avant activities after WWII.

Until The Police Had His Corpse, They Blamed Him For Unsolved Mysteries

Photo: Guise/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Because the police didn’t know Loutrel was dead, they continued to think he was committing unlawful acts and leading the Gang des Tractions Avant. Numerous robberies were credited to Loutrel until his body was discovered in 1949. To identify Loutrel, police circulated photos of Loutrel’s skull placed over pictures of him in life. 

Reference

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