About the Memorial

The place

The Civilians in Wartime Memorial is a true site museum. It is built on the ruins of a house destroyed by the bombings of summer 1944.

It is a remembrance place unique in the world. Although the fate of civilians is often a point raised, never before had a museum chosen to fully dedicate its topic to the daily life of populations during an armed conflict.

The only museum of its kind to cover civilian life during the war

What was daily life like for people during the war? How did they carry on under the occupation and ...?

... during the bombardments and mass exodus? What were relations like between these civilians and occupying forces, the Pétain administration and, after the Landings, Allied forces?
These are just some of the questions that arise when we start looking at civilian life in wartime.

As the Second World War turns from memory to history, the answers to these and many more questions can be found at the Civilians in Wartime Memorial, which opens in Falaise this spring. This “museum of memory” is the only one of its kind in the world! For never yet has a whole museum been devoted to the fate of civilians during armed conflict. War museums sometimes touch on the subject but the majority of material has always been devoted to war heroes – the soldiers and resistance fighters.

Civilians in wartime is a story left untold, a little known tale that nobody has really taken an interest in for the last 70 years.

Now it is time to recount this “silent suffering”.


The geographic location

The Civilians in wartime Memorial is a genuine site museum as it features the ruins of a house destroyed during the bombings of summer 1944.

The Civilians in wartime Memorial is a genuine site museum as it features the ruins of a house destroyed during the bombings of summer 1944.

Archaeological excavations carried out in the spring of 2015 by a group of fifteen archaeologists from Inrap (French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research) brought to light the remains of a house destroyed during the bombardments of summer 1944.

By unbelievable coincidence, the discovery was made on the exact site of the “multi-sensory reconstruction” planned by the museum design team as the highpoint of the exhibition.

The remains have been painstakingly preserved and incorporated into the reconstruction to produce a spectacular recreation of civilian bombings using special sound and lighting effects.
So events being related, explained and backed up by evidence in the galleries of the Civilianians in wartime Memorial were actually experienced on the very ground the museum stands on.


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