During the Second World War, while Corsica was occupied by 80,000 Italian and S.S. Reichsführer division troops, he joined the Resistance and was entrusted, in March 1943, the military responsibility of the Central Committee of Front National of Levie. As from this date, he was in charge of collecting dropped weapons, transporting them through the lines and storing them.
In September 1943, he particularly distinguished himself in the Levie Alta Rocca village. At the head of his men, he started the battle, and though wounded, continued to assume his command by making German troops to suffer a serious defeat.
When the Second World War ended, Captain Nicolaï volunteered to go to Indochina where he took part in several operations and liaisons in Phu Yen and Bin Dinh. In June and July 1954, he participated in the offensive actions carried out in the Tourane, Quang Tri, Binh Dinh and Bao An sectors.
In 1956 and 1957, Major Nicolaï was in Algeria, in the Aurès, where he joined the 13th regiment of Algerian colonial infantry men. For two years, he performed the very difficult task of liaison officer. That was how on May 11, 1957, he courageously participated in a violent engagement against a strong rebel group, during which several infantry men were disabled.
Paul Nicolaï, a calm and courageous officer, with an exceptional decision-making sprit under very difficult conditions, died in 1991.
Officer of the Legion of Honour, wounded once in battle, and commended four times including once in the army order, Paul Nicolaï received several decorations, notably the military fire medal, Second World War cross with bar and bronze star, overseas operations war cross, military valour cross, French resistance medal, and volunteer servicemen cross.
LEVIE ALTA ROCCA patriots in battle
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His wife Françoise Emilie Nicolaï, who also courageously served France within the Resistance, received the distinction of FFI 1st class, the Second World War cross, the Second World War volunteer servicemen cross, the Resistance volunteer servicemen cross, and the commemorative medal with a bar "Liberation" of the Second World War. Her commendation bore the inscription:
The aid of this Corsican lady, with her unflinching patriotism, was precious in clandestine battle. She carried out the delicate missions of transporting munitions, keeping weapons in her home and participating in the listening of conventional messages. She also provided help to maquis patriots and offered shelter to those who were in difficulty. She participated in carrying supplies to groups at the front during the liberation battles.
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LEVIE ALTA ROCCA village
Finally, courage, determination, and the unbelievable combativeness of the Levie Alta Rocca village against the SS of the Reichsführer division known for its extreme cruelty, enabled it to be honoured entirely with the award of the war cross with bar and a splendid commendation in the army order ...
The heroic Haut-Sartenais village led the Resistance and battle. As from September 9, 1943, standing majestically under the orders of its leaders, attacked first in Corsica, German troops which had started moving southwards. For over ten days, there was constant fierce fight. Despite the counter-attacks, the execution of two patriots and the German ultimatum threatening to raze the village to the ground, the patriots remained on the field at the price of ten dead and more than ten wounded before the arrival of the Free French Forces. Thanks to the tactful measures taken, the calmness of its leaders and the courage of everybody, the enemy turned back, leaving over 200 dead, about 400 wounded, 20 prisoners, over 30 war vehicles, weapons, munitions, and rations. This was wonderful example of patriotism and proof of the indomitable tenacity of the Corsican race.