At the end of this war (1954-1962), recalls the president in a tribute press release, François Meyer had decided “to exfiltrate by his own means his men and their families to the metropolis, in flagrant contradiction with the official directives “.
While thousands of harkis were hunted down and killed in Algeria, he had 350 people embarked for France.
“After having saved his men and their families”, writes the president, “he devotes his energy to looking for French villages to welcome them, which he finally finds in Lozère. The harkis who settle there become farmers. For years , he spends all his permissions there and deploys tireless efforts to help their integration.He also works to maintain the memory of his former comrades in arms, in the press and at conferences, publishing a book 2005”.
In September 2021, Emmanuel Macron presented François Meyer with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, during a reception at the Élysée devoted to harkis. That day, the head of state had asked “forgiveness” to the harkis on behalf of France for their tragedy, and promised “reparation”.
The harkis and their descendants would today form a community of several hundred thousand people.