- Esplanade Général Eisenhower, 14000 Caen, France
- + 33 (0)23 10 60 644 firstname.lastname@example.org
One of its kind in France, the Mémorial de Caen Museum gives the public the keys to understanding the Second World War, from its origins after the First World War to its latest consequences in 1989. It prompts the visitor to ask himself questions about this rapidly fading episode that changed the face of Europe and the world.
The Second World War, the most terrifying conflict in the history of the human race, caused the death of approximately 60 million persons, half of them civilians. The violence directed against civilians is in effect one of the characteristics of this war, be it through massive aerial bombardments on urban centers, the all-out war in the East, the greatest genocide in world history and the use of the atomic bomb for the first time at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A large space in the Mémorial de Caen Museum is dedicated to the varied individual experiences of men and women confronted with this war: rationing, occupation, participation in the war effort, life under aerial attack and direct combat. Another space tells the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
The exhibitions at the museum, in constant evolution since its creation, permit the visitor to experience the Second World War in all its complexity and scope. It prompts us to ask ourselves questions about this rapidly fading past that nevertheless is still close and familiar, and certainly very relevant, as it profoundly changed the face of Europe and the world.
The Mémorial de Caen Museum is situated on the spot where the underground command post of the 716th German Infantry Division was located. In 1944 this Division was responsible for the defence of the coastal sector north of Caen. The command post, 70 meters long and 5 meters wide, was restored in the fall of 2013. Besides a display of the German defences in the Caen area, it shows aspects of life under German occupation.
During the Allied invasion of Normandy Arlette Varin, ten years old, lived in the city of Lisieux. On 6 June 1944 she lost a part of her family. During the rest of her life she never blamed the Allied soldiers. She only suffered from guilt that she was the one who survived.
As a young girl of 19 years old Chantal Nobécourt volunteered for the Red Cross in Caen in the summer of 1944. When the city endured the heavy bombardments by the German and Canadian armies she worked at the nursery in the Malherbe High School, that was equipped as refugee centre for the inhabitants of Caen.
During the Second World War the Frenchman René Rossey volunteered for a military career, at first in the Free French Forces. In 1943, 17 years old, he joined the famous Kieffer Commando and participated in the Allied landing in Normandy. After the liberation of France his unit continued fighting the Germans and finally succeeded in the liberation of Holland.
Fought between the iconic landings on 6 June 1944 and the liberation of Paris on 25 August, the Battle of Normandy is often overlooked. Yet this campaign decided the course of the war in Northwestern Europe. The losses were huge: more than 100.000 people were killed during the 80 days, 20.000 of them civilians.
The longest Day 6 June 1944 entered history under the now legendary name of D-Day, the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy. It was the most dramatic part of Operation Overlord, that marked the beginning of the liberation of
The Polish First Armoured Division under command of general Maczek played an important role in the liberation of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The ‘black division’ was feared by its enemies and brought swift liberation to the occupied nations.
Edouard Gérard managed to reach Britain after the German invasion of his home country of Belgium. He joined the Belgian army in Britain and took part in the invasion of Normandy where he died at the age of 20. He was the first Belgian soldier to die in the Battle of Normandy.