Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation

“Dedicated to the living memory of the 200,000 French deportees sleeping in the night and the fog, exterminated in the Nazi concentration camps.”

Hall of Remembrance, Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation, Paris 2009

© Leslie Hossack

The Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation is located in Paris at the eastern end of Ile de la Cité, behind Notre Dame Cathedral. This monument, designed by Georges Pingusson, was inaugurated by President Charles de Gaulle in 1962.

The Hall of Remembrance is a narrow underground chamber whose walls are studded with 200,000 lighted crystals, symbolizing the deportees who perished. The dark corridor can only be viewed through a small window that is covered with heavy iron bars.

Pingusson’s style of commemorative architecture is very different from that of Moshe Safdie, architect of the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Two photographs of Safdie’s Israeli memorials are included in my exhibition CITIES OF STONE – PEOPLE OF DUST, on view at the Red Wall Gallery in Ottawa until September 2nd, 2011.

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