Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation
|Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation
The memorial at the eastern tip of Île de la Cité
|Dedicated to||200,000 people deported from Vichy France to the Nazi concentration camps during World War II|
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The Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation (English: "Memorial of the Deportation") is a memorial to the 200,000 people who were deported from Vichy France to the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. It is located in Paris, France on the site of a former morgue, underground behind Notre Dame on Île de la Cité. It was designed by French modernist architect Georges-Henri Pingusson and was inaugurated by Charles de Gaulle in 1962.
Description and history
Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation, located in Paris, France, is a memorial to the more than 200,000 people who were deported from Vichy France to the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Designed by French architect, writer, teacher, and town planner Georges-Henri Pingusson, the memorial was inaugurated by Charles de Gaulle in 1962. In the year of its opening, a brochure produced by the French survivors' group "Reseau de souvenir" described the memorial as a crypt, "hollowed out of the sacred isle, the cradle of our nation, which incarnates the soul of France -- a place where its spirit dwells."
Pingusson intended that its long and narrow subterranean space convey a feeling of claustrophobia. The memorial's entrance is narrow, marked by two concrete blocks. Inside is the tomb of an unknown deportee who was killed at the camp in Neustadt. Along both walls of the narrow, dimly lit chamber are 200,000 glass crystals with light shining through, meant to symbolize each of the deportees who died in the concentration camps; at the end of the tunnel is a single bright light. Ashes from the camps, contained within urns, are positioned at both lateral ends. Both ends of the chamber have small rooms that seem to depict prison cells. Opposite the entrance is a stark iron gate overlooking the Seine at the tip of the Île de la Cité.
Fragments of two poems by French poet and French Resistance member Robert Desnos are inscribed on the walls. The first consists of the last stanza of a poem written by Desnos, himself a deportee, pseudonymously and published "underground" in Paris, on Bastille Day 1942, "The Heart that Hated War":
I have dreamt so very much of you,
I have walked so much,
Loved your shadow so much,
That nothing more is left to me of you.
All that remains to me is to be the shadow among shadows
To be a hundred times more of a shadow than the shadow
To be the shadow that will come and come again into
your sunny life.
A circular plaque on the floor of the underground chamber is inscribed: "They descended into the mouth of the earth and they did not return." A "flame of eternal hope" burns and The Tomb of the Unknown Deportee bears the inscription: "Dedicated to the living memory of the 200,000 French deportees sleeping in the night and the fog, exterminated in the Nazi concentration camps." At the exit to the chamber is the injunction, engraved, found at all sites memorializing the victims of the Nazis: "Forgive but never forget."
The memorial is open daily from 10am to 5pm from March through October, and from 10am to 7pm from April through September.
Fodor's called the memorial "stark" and "evocative".
- Concentration camps in France
- Drancy internment camp
- Military Administration in France (Nazi Germany)
- Timeline of deportations of French Jews to death camps
- "Pari Sights: Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation (Memorial of the Deportation)". Fodor's Travel (Random House LLC). 2014-02-09. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
- Conley, Katharine (1999). "The Myth of the 'Dernier poeme': Robert Desnos and French Cultural Memor". In Bal, Mieke; Crewe, Jonathan; Spitzer, Leo. Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present. Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College (University Press of New England). pp. 134–35. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
- "France: Paris Audio Walking Tours | Rick Steves' Europe". ricksteves.com. Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door, Inc. Retrieved 2014-03-01. See downloadable audio tour and map Historic Paris Walk.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation.|
- Le Mémorial des martyrs de la déportation (1960–1962), Les dossiers du "Groupe de Réflexion et Production" (in French)
- Photos: Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation – Paris, "A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust", Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of South Florida (2005)
- Resources for Tracing Victims and Survivors of the Holocaust from France by Bernard I. Kouchel