Memorial of the Deportation Paris

>>  Sunday, April 06, 2014

Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation 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 an incredibly simple memorial that you can walk around but is amazingly moving. It can be found behind the Notre Dame and is open daily. It seems to shut for lunch so I would try to time your visit between 10-12 or 2pm-5pm (7pm summer months).

The space when you enter is suffocating and almost claustrophobic.  You cannot see anything over the high walls, even though you know Paris, the Notre Dame, the Seine is all out there, you are completely isolated from it.
The only possible view out is marred by bars
and sharp stakes.
You enter through a thin corridor into an area with inscriptions, two cell like areas, so dark you cannot really see or tell what is there.

It gives the sense of what it would feel like to walk into a cell or chamber with fear.  Only a sense, it must be impossible to really imagine the true horror.

To the centre is the tomb of an unknown deportee who was killed at the camp in Neustadt and a corridor of 200,000 lights.

There are also urns with ashes from the camps in the side chambers.

Even going back outside after the dreadful enclosed feeling from within brings no relief.

You are just back to the high walls and the feeling of being trapped and alone.

It was an incredibly well designed and thought through memorial and there are some inscriptions to be read and a little more to see than I have shown.

If you find yourself with 30 minutes to spare in Paris, I really recommend you go and take a look at this.

"Forgive but never forget."

The memorial is free to visit but visitor numbers are restricted, so you may have to wait if you get there at a busy time.


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