The House of Memory, so we will never forget…
On 25 August 1944, Paris celebrated the French capital’s liberation. On the same day, in a small village in Touraine, the second worst massacre of a civilian population in France during the Second World War was being carried out.
124 inhabitants in the village of Maillé were shot by German soldiers – almost the entire population. This was a targeted act aiming to terrorise the population and the local Resistance. 124 names are engraved in stone, with the youngest aged 3 months and the oldest 89 years old.
This is a forgotten tragedy, mainly because the village was rebuilt identically in the years following the massacre. There were no traces or ruins left, and the modest scale of the commemorative monuments made the tragedy practically invisible in the village.
The veil over a mystery that is now 75 years old was lifted in the mid-2000s.
In 2006, the Maison du Souvenir (House of Memory) was opened and in 2008, for the first time a French President came to Maillé and officially recognised the massacre, as well as the moral wrong committed by France during the period when the victims were forgotten.
This memorial site is not a museum. It welcomes school groups all the year round and is recognised for its educational value. The site aims to foster debate and discussion. While the subject is clearly horrific, the choice has been made not to show any disturbing pictures.
The Maison du Souvenir contains documents based on eye-witness accounts by survivors, ensuring that we will pass on the memory of the event to future generations.
During a simulated visit in the company of a survivor, you can explore the Maison du Souvenir with the help of an audio-guide, with eye-witnesses telling their stories in turn. Visitors hear a series of anecdotes and more serious accounts, including the story of a man who, aged ten, saw the parish priest and member of the Resistance from Draché, Abbé Péan, being arrested, then rescued an American airman and finally cross over to the French demarcation line in secret to visit his father in the free zone!
A special “family” visit will soon be available, including a range of activities for children (a book with you as the hero, puzzles, etc.). There will also be elements to help adults accompany their children as they visit the memorial site, which can sometimes be hard for younger visitors to grasp.
The “historical investigation”
This is a new activity open to all and putting you in a historian’s shoes. You will have five boxes of archives, the facsimiles of historic documents and a single mission: identify those responsible for the massacre. As you go along, you will see new historical documents, helping you to fine-tune your investigation and perhaps to find the name of the unit that committed the war crime.
In the second quarter of 2019, an exhibition about the reconstruction of Maillé will show how urban planners viewed the reconstruction after the massacre. They aimed to make Maillé a “model” village and to help “the dark memories to disappear little by little” from the inhabitants’ minds…
An enthusiastic team on hand to help
The committed and passionate Maison du Souvenir team will be happy to answer your questions. They will keep you up to date about the latest historical developments concerning research into the event. Far from being a simple visit, a trip to the Maison du Souvenir is an invitation to exchange about this dark period of history.
La Maison du Souvenir
1 Rue de la Paix
Tel: 02 47 65 24 89
The Maison du Souvenir is open all the year round, including on public holidays (except 25 December and 1 January):
– from Monday to Friday, 10.30 am to 1 pm and 2 to 6 pm
Open at the weekend in season (April-November):
– Saturdays from 10.30 am to 1 pm and 2 to 6 pm
– Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m.
– adults: €6.30 – concessions: €3.15 (children aged over 12, students, teachers and SNCF Loisirys card-holders, proof required)
– free for children under 12.
– admission: €5.30 (per person, groups of over 10 people)
– guided visits: €22 (groups of 10-25 people, in addition to admission, reservation required)