“Rouen-Auschwitz, one way without return”, the memory of the deportees perpetuated in an exhibition at the Rouen town hall
In the corridors of the town hall of Rouen, the exhibition “Rouen-Auschwitz, one way without return” retraces the history of the Nazi occupation in France and the deportation of the Jews of Rouen. Tables accessible free of charge until January 31.
A voice resounds in the corridors of the town hall of Rouen, it is that of Françoise Bottois, professor of history and writer. “To commemorate is to pay homage to all the Jews who were persecuted and murdered“, she declares, not without emotion. It is an opening on the past which is proposed, 77 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. 38 posters adorn the walls.
They retrace the history of these Rouennais deportees, sometimes simple neighbours, often simple French families. Sealed by a handshake from Marshal Pétain.
On October 24, 1940, he met Hitler and assured him of his collaboration. At the time, no one suspected what was going to happen, perhaps a little in Paris, but the Jews of Rouen had no idea what awaited them.
Françoise Bottois, history teacher
According to a census of the Town hall in 1940, 365 Rouennais of all ages, are concerned by the deportation and will be sent initially in the camp of Drancy in France, before joining Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen.
Suffering screams through the photos. But she had been silenced in simple name records written in this same town hall 80 years earlier. Notes made available to the police of the time and the Nazi regime.
They know each person’s profession and address. If they no longer lived there, they asked the neighbor who was not necessarily aware of the situation. And that’s how they could stop them whenever they wanted.Françoise Bottois, history teacher
Before adding, ” it is frightening to see how everything was calculated, that the intelligence put at the service of cruelty “. And if all these details are freely accessible to the general public today, it is thanks to the work of archives but above all to the testimony of one person: Denise Holstein.
This exhibition was produced by Françoise Bottois, history teacher and Denise Holstein, deported Rouennaise and Holocaust survivor. An essential work of memory.
What matters to them today, the memory.
It’s good to make history, but you have to accompany. What we do raises questions. So at our level, we contribute to a kind of civic education and this is intended for all audiences.Françoise Bottois, history teacher
And to maintain this memory, the exhibition “Rouen-Auschwitz, one way without return”, is accessible on the ground floor of the town hall of Rouen until January 31.