Mémorial a la Déportation, the Holocaust Memorial in Paris
Mémorial de la Déportation, the Holocaust Memorial in Paris. (Photo by Emiliano)

The memorial to martrys of the deportation in Paris

This evocative, sobering spot designed by Henri-Georges Pingusson and inaugrated in 1962 to commemorate French victims of the Holocaust.

It is tucked beneath the vest-pocket park behind Notre Dame cathedral at the very eastern tip of Île de la Cité. Descend some stairs and you're in a small sunken space, with horizontal slit window showing the rushing waters of the Seine just below.

A narrow corridor opposite burrows back under the ground into the modernist memorial itself, lined with glowing crystals representing the 200,000 French citizens deported under the Vichy regime to Nazi concentration camps.

There are triangular urns set into the walls containing dirt from the various camps and ashes from their creamtoria.

The plaque on the floor says, "They descended into the mouth of the earth and they did not return."

 

 

 



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The Holocaust Memorial in Paris
The Holocaust Memorial in Paris. (Photo by Amaury Hendrick)

 

 

The Nazi concentration camps to which French Holocaust victims were sent.
The Nazi concentration camps to which French Holocaust victims were sent. (Photo by Wally Gobetz)