Sunday, May 27, 2012

The 87 Martyrs of D-Day (6 June 1944)

Memorial to the 87 French Resistance Martyrs
Executed on the day of Liberation, 6 June 1944
Memorial Museum for Peace, Caen, Calvados 
For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

This memorial for the 87 men and women of the French Resistance can be found in the grounds of the Memorial Museum for Peace at Caen, Calvados, France. These men and women were executed one by one in Caen prison as a reprisal for the Allied Landings in Normandy on D-Day, Tuesday 6 June 1944.

This is an English translation of the inscription engraved on the memorial stone:

"To those Resistants slaughtered in the prison of Caen on 6 June 1944.

To all the martyrs of Nazism in Calvados.

A tribute from the city of Caen.

On the day of Allied Landings, amid the tumult of fighting and shelling, 87 men and women of the Resistance, detained in the prison at Caen, were filled with joy the hope of a release, next they were shot one after the other by the Occupier. Their bodies were never found.

The city of Caen dedicated this monument to the first victims who fell on 6 June 1944 for the Liberation of France and Europe.

June 6, 1989."

The actual inscription is written in French, which is included for completeness below:

"Aux Resistants abattus à la prison de Caen le 6 juin 1944.

A tous les martyrs du Nazisme dans le Calvados.

L'hommage de la ville de Caen.

Le jour du Débarquement, dans le tumulte des combats et des bombardements, 87 résistantes et résistants, incarcérés à la prison de Caen, rempli la joie par l'Espérance d'une Libération, prochaine ont été abattus les uns après les autres par l'Occupant. Leurs corps n'ont jamais été retrouvés.

La ville de Caen à realisé ce monument à ces premieres victimes tombées le 6 juin 1944 pour la Libération de France et de l'Europe.

Le 6 juin 1989."
To know the meaning of 'Liberty'

This memorial is in a place of peace and comfort. Here, one can reflect upon the fragility of peace, freedom and life. Without vigilance, these may be taken away at a moment's notice.

One may call to mind the following words of the French poet Paul Éluard (1895 - 1952):

"Je suis né pour te connaitre
Pour te nommer

Poésie et Vérité,
'Rendez-vous allemand', (1945).

This can be translated into English as follows:

"I was born to know you
To call you

Paul Éluard
'Poetry and Truth', Poésie et Verité,
'German Rendezvous' (1945).

Some personal reflections

Standing here in front of this monument, one may ask if it is futile to remember a time that has long since passed into 'All Our Yesterdays'? Why should one remember people who have long since left the land of the living?

Arguably, these are questions that could only be asked in lands at a time where there is true freedom. Standing here, one can give thanks to these 87 people for a freedom that was denied to them.

In truth, it was for the freedom of others - our freedom - that these people died.

A knowledge of the past is required to be vigilant against a return to a time of war, killing and destruction. One may call to mind the following words attributed to the Spanish poet and writer, Georges Santayama (1863 - 1952):

"Those who do not know their past are condemned to repeat it."

Sunday, 27 May, 2012  
Blogger Cathie said...

Thank you Joseph for this series of interesting reports on Caen. Definitely a place to visit.

Sunday, 27 May, 2012  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

There is much to recommend about Caen and environs, Catherine. This is also the land of William the Conqueror and his Queen, Matilda.

If you buy a train ticket, make sure you get one for Caen as opposed to Cannes. As you know,despite what many people think, they are different cities. It is a long way from Cannes to Caen if you end up in the wrong place!

Sunday, 27 May, 2012  

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