Paris Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation (Paris)

Paris Memorial de la Deportation (Paris)



Square de I'lle de France

Tel. 01 46 33 87 56

Subway: Cite

Open: 10am- 6pm Tue- Sun


Description of Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation

Paris Memorial de la Deportation (Paris)

Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation is a museum of Deportation of 200,000 French men and women of all ages during World War II. It contains the names of all concentration camps and earth that was brought from these camps.


Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation located in the 4th district of Paris, at the eastern tip of Ile de la Cité below the square of Ile-de-France. It was commissioned by the Network of Remembrance which donated to the State on February 29, 1964. The project, realized by the architect Georges-Henri Pingusson, it was inaugurated on April 12, 1962 by General de Gaulle, President of the Republic. To the visitor approaching, the Memorial first appears as a kind of whitish stone bunker. It is down a relatively narrow, steep staircase with uneven steps that it enters the monument. All the construction is made of concrete covered with a hammered coating where gravel from various regions of France are integrated, all giving the impression of a raw natural stone.

From a triangular courtyard, a crypt with narrow passages and dimly lit unfolds in the mass of the monument. A long corridor protected by a grid has on its walls 200 000 glass sticks symbolizing the countless victims of the deportation in the Nazi camps, at the entrance of this corridor is a tomb that contains the remains of a dead unknown deportee at the Natzweiler-Struthof camp and transferred here on 10 April 1962. The triangular courtyard opens towards the river by a horizontal embrasure obstructed by angular bars. The visitor is almost at the level of the Seine and the only views to the outside are through the embrasure towards the running water of the river or vertically towards the sky where the clouds pass. After the descent of the steps, this contributes to creating a strange sensation where the visitor is as outside the world that continues to exist and to move outside.

To the right and to the left two diverticula comprise, inserted in triangular niches, urns containing earth coming from the different camps as well as ashes brought back from the cremation ovens. On the walls are inscribed extracts of poems or quotes from Robert Desnos, Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon, Vercors, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Jean-Augustin Maydieu and Jean-Paul Sartre. Above, accessible only on request, several rooms present an exhibition.