The Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation is in a quiet garden, the Square d'Ile de France, at the eastern end of Ile de la Cité.
The entrance is simply a descending stairway on the south-east side of the garden. Alongside is a low, white stone wall defining the edge of the Square. Inscribed in red on this low wall are these words:
1940 AUX DEUX CENT MILLE MORTS DANS LES CAMPS MARTYRS FRANCAIS DE LA DEPORTATION 1945
This monument was designed by the architect Georges Henri Pingusson and inaugurated by President Charles de Gaulle April 12, 1962.
It memorializes the 160,000 people who were deported from France to the concentration camps between 1940-1945, 85,000 of whom were political activists, resistance fighters, homosexuals and gypsies.
76,000 of them were Jews, including 11,000 children. Only 2,500 of those deported survived.
This Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation was designed to represent features of the concentration camps; narrow passages, tight stairways, spiked gates and restricted views with no sight of the horizon.
Inside, inscribed on the walls, are texts and poems of Robert Desnos, Louis Aragon, Paul Eluard, Jean-Paul Sartre and Antoine de St. Exupéry.
The black triangles embedded in the walls and inscribed with the names of the death camps contain soil and the ashes of the victims from those camps.
The Hall of Remembrance is lined with 160,000 pebbles. It represents the Jewish tradition of placing a stone on the grave of a loved one.
The Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation is open daily from 10 a.m.-noon, and again from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. during April- September. The rest of the year, the Memorial closes at 5 p.m.
There is no admission fee. Appropriate attire is requested as well as your cell phone being turned off.
Of further interest, we recommend a visit to the nearby Memorial of the Shoah.
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