English Informer in France

English Informer in France

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The Memory House at Maille

A visit to The Memory House at Maillé on 24th August 1944
When I saw an article the other day in a French newspaper it triggered a memory. I had seen the place advertised before, and it wasn’t too far away. So, on a winter’s afternoon my husband and I drove down to the small village of Maillé, just below Tours, in the department of the Indre-et-Loire. After some searching we found Maison du Souvenir, or The Memory House.

This museum is about the Maillé Massacre which happened on the 25th August 1944. The nicely renovated building’s exterior is well kept, but sombre, as is fitting for a building which tells the story of such a terrible day, when 124 of the villages 500 residents were massacred by Second Lieutenant Gustav Schlüter and his men.

Why? Well apparently because of reprisals a few days before, and the activities of the Resistance. Tragically the culprits have never been made to pay for their crimes, which is terrible when you hear the video, which the administrator kindly put on with English subtitles for us. To hear elderly peoples’ testaments to the horrors they saw that day, and have lived with since, brought us to tears. People who, until the memory house was built had never talked about the day they saw their parents and siblings killed, some were mothers with babes in arms.

The fact that 124 of its 500 residents 48 of them children) were murdered is horrendous, but that it could have taken place on the same day as Paris was liberated is incomprehensible, as it says somewhere in the tour “Under the same sun.”

The village was rebuilt and children given some happy memories post-war by a kind American couple but the true extent of this monstrosity on the children who survived it is so evident in the film.

The museum is open every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

For more information, this is their website http://www.maisondusouvenir.fr/visit/

My husband is in a wheelchair and the film and exhibit are totally wheelchair friendly and the staff were extremely helpful. I would recommend a visit if you are ever in the area.

Susan Keefe
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