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Villaplane: Capitán bleu y miembro de la Gestapo

Villaplane: Captain bleu and member of the Gestapo

Alex Villaplane's life took a radical turn in just a few years. In 1930, in the first World Cup in history held in Uruguay, he was the captain of the French team and at the end of the decade, away from everything related to football, he was an important member of the bloodthirsty 'French Gestapo'.

 Villaplane was a right-half with good technique, tactically savvy, adept at recovery and a great passing game. Born in 1905 in the French protectorate of Algeria, he became a footballer in France playing for FC Séte, Nimes, Racing de Paris where he completed his best football years, FC Antibes, Nice and Hispano-Bastidienne with whom he played some few encounters when he was not in jail. His international career, which lasted 25 games, began with the 'bleus' against Belgium in a friendly duel held at the Pershing stadium to the east of Paris in 1926. Two years later he entered the list of Scotsman Peter Farmer for the Amsterdam Olympic Games and in 1930 he traveled as leader of the blue squad to the World Cup in Uruguay. In the Netherlands they were defeated in the first round by Italy, while on Uruguayan soil the Frenchmen fell in the group stage after beating Mexico in their debut and losing by a minimum against Argentina and Chile in Montevideo.


 During his football career, he was already implicated in problems related to betting, the purchase of matches or even theft. He was arrested for a horse betting case in Paris that cost him six months in prison in 1935 and was also the protagonist of the first match-fixing in the history of French football. Olympique Antibes was fighting to be champion in Group B of the División Nationale and on the last matchday they beat SC Fivois Lille 5-0, a result that later became known as agreed. In the blue and white team he met up with two old friends like goalkeeper Laurent Henric and midfielder Pierrot Cazal but in the investigations it was his name that came out as one of the ringleaders of the result fix. His reputation in France took a nosedive and he had to leave the team to sign for Nice a few weeks later. For its part, the Côte d'Azur club was relegated from the category and dispossessed of the leadership of the group in favor of AS Cannes, which played the French Championship with Olympique Lillois.

 In 1939, the outbreak of World War II caught him in prison. By then he was broke and was in and out of jail from time to time due to corruption or petty theft. A year later, the German occupation of the French capital gave him a free hand to continue his criminal activities. The well-known criminal Henri Lafont asked the high Nazis for the release of several criminals, including Villaplane.

 From that moment on he joined the French Gestapo and a group known as the BNA (North African Brigade), where he smugly wore the uniform of an SS second lieutenant and was known by the nickname SS. Mohammed. The organization's main objective was to locate and kill members of the French Resistance and to extort and torture Jews, Gypsies or partisans. With this he earned a lot of money and recovered the economic status he longed for so much.

Villaplane in his time as a Nice footballer


His good work made him get promoted and become one of the five leaders of the BNA. Among his most ruthless acts are the “Oradour sur-Glane Massacre”, where he cheated 52 SS detainees for money who were later murdered, and the kidnapping and subsequent execution of ten boys in Aquitaine. The boys between the ages of 17 and 27 received all kinds of torture before Villaplane was the first to shoot them at point blank range. Witnesses even reported that he was seen enjoying and smiling while doing it.


The French Resistance was undermining the criminal organization but the former French captain still had time to deceive numerous Jewish families. His plan was to win the trust of family members and set himself up as a savior for a price of approximately 400,000 francs per person. He proposed an exchange of money or jewelry for a transfer to Portugal, a neutral country in the war. However, the Jews finally did not move from Paris and were transferred through different tricks to the Gestapo headquarters in the capital of the country.


The change of direction in the war and the liberation of Paris in 1944 put an end to Villaplane's life plan. The BNA was dissolved in the summer and many of its collaborators left for Germany. The former player stayed and was quickly detained by the French authorities. In his defense, he argued that what was said about him was not true and that his main job during the war had been to help the Jews flee from Paris. Nobody believed.


At the end of 1944, despite his recent naturalization as a German, he was tried by the Seine Court of Justice, which accused him of being a collaborator with the Nazis and responsible for at least ten murders. The Court sentenced him to death and the sentence was carried out at 10 am at the Montrouge barracks on December 26, where he was shot at the age of 39 along with his friend Henri Lafont and former SS lieutenant Pierre Bony.

The French team with Villaplane as captain in the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay

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