Exhibition "Mannheim-Izieu-Auschwitz" - A Joint Franco-German Project

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The Maison d’Izieu Memorial Site is a place of active and living memories. It is dedicated to the memory and history of 44 Jewish children who on April 6, 1944, were arrested in the village of Izieu, deported and murdered by Klaus Barbie, head of the Lyon Gestapo. Furthermore, the coming to terms with the crimes against humanity and their contexts is an integral part of Maison d’Izieu as a place of remembrance and education.

Since 2000, the memorial site has been receiving young Germans who participate as volunteers with the Sign of Reconciliation Peace Services (Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste e.V., or ASF) in all activities of the establishment, and in particular in cooperative programs and intercultural encounters with schools, universities and institutions of political education, as well as memorials in Germany.

The results of the joint work can be seen in the exhibition "Mannheim - Izieu - Auschwitz dokumentiert" ("Mannheim - Izieu - Auschwitz Documented"), which was created in collaboration with the dedicated graphic designer Bernadette Dressler.

The exhibition consists of 21 tables tracing the life stories of four German Jews aged 5 to 15, Sami Adelsheimer, Max Leiner, Fritz Löbmann and Otto Wertheimer. The first tables show the daily life of the Jewish children and their families in Mannheim before 1933 and during the National Socialist era. Furthermore, the exhibition describes their extradition and deportation into the French internment camp Gurs on October 22 and 23, 1940. The internment in France is portrayed against the backdrop of the anti-Semitic policies and the collaboration of the Vichy Regime. In particular, the exhibition dwells on the Gurs and Rivesaltes camps in which the children were interned. When in the summer of 1942 the Vichy government plans to deport Jewish children below the age of 16, the O.S.E. children's relief organization attempts to rescue them and establishes a corresponding network. In this framework, young Sami, Max, Fritz and Otto, as well as other children, separated from their already deported parents, find shelter in Izieu's house, which operates as a children's home since May 1943. After their arrest on April 6, 1944, the four children are brought to the Drancy transit camp near Paris. From there, they are deported to Auschwitz, where they are murdered. The Franco-German exhibition ends with impressions and reflections of the students on joint research and remembrance work.

Among the hundred-odd Jewish children received by the Maison d’Izieu, several came from Germany. Four of the deported children came from Mannheim.

On the initiative of the Maison d’Izieu Memorial Site, high school students from Mannheim and Lyon jointly followed the traces of those four children. For this purpose, the students visited several places within the framework of the history project, which is conceived as a Franco-German encounter. With the support of their teachers, they worked together in Mannheim, Izieu, Rivesaltes and Auschwitz. The historical knowledge acquired in the course of the project has contributed to shaping a common historical awareness among students of the Lycée Saint-Marc, the Integrated Comprehensive School Mannheim-Herzogenried, the Elisabeth-Gymnasium, and the Ludwig-Frank-Gymnasium.

In their research they were supported by the municipal archive of Mannheim and by the Maison d’Izieu. The latter assumed the organization and coordination of the entire project. Without the financial support of the Franco-German Youth Office (DFJW) the project could never have been implemented.

For educational establishments, cultural centers and museums, the bilingual exhibition will be available on loan at no cost. There are four exhibition sets available, two each in Germany and France. This bilingual exhibition consists of 21 plaques with setup instructions: 15 plaques measuring 1.20 m x 0.90 m, and 6 plaques measuring 1.20 m x 0.90 m. The exhibition requires an 18 m wide area.


Maison d’Izieu
Mémorial des enfants juifs exterminés
Mme Kathel Houzé
F-01300 Izieu
Fon: +33 (0) 4 79 87 21 05
Fax : +33 (0) 4 79 87 25 01
Mail: kathel [dot] houze [at] wanadoo [dot] fr
Lycée Saint-Marc
M. Jean-François Forges
10, rue Sainte Hélène
F-69287 Lyon cedex 02
Fon: +33 (0)4 78 38 06 06
Fax : +33 (0)4 78 38 72 59
Landeszentrale für politische Bildung
Herr Konrad Pflug
Fachreferat III/7 “Gedenkstättenarbeit"
Paulinenstr. 44-46
D-70178 Stuttgart
Fon: +49 (0) 711 16 40 99-31
Fax : +49 (0) 711 16 40 99-55
gedenkstaettenarbeit [at] lpb [dot] bwl [dot] de

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