Due to the development of the war, which meant that Strasbourg University of Alsace had become German, the University of Clermont Ferrand invited the students to continue their studies right there. This meant that the small provincial university suddenly came to house an extra number of students and teachers. There was also a very active resistance movement rooted in the university, and when the whole of France was occupied in the autumn of 1942, the Nazis began to take an interest in the activities of the university.          

The Nazis had become aware that the university housed Jews, activists and communists alike. The problem was that they did not have accurate information, which meant they could arrest them. It was one of the young students at the university who led the group of people active in the resistance movement. It was the so-called "Maquies" who lived in the mountains around Clermont Ferrand. The man's name was Georges Mathieu, and he became the Nazis' access to the university.