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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mont Valérien

Mont Valérien is the site of a fortress built in 1841 that sits high on a hill just outside of Paris on the west edge of town. It was occupied by German troops during WWII and was used as an execution site. Over 1000  resistance fighters and hostages were executed by firing squad here. The men were brought in trucks from other prisons in the area, held for a short time in a small chapel on the site, then marched to a clearing in the woods, shot, and their bodies taken away for anonymous burial in cemeteries throughout the city. Only men were brought here. Women who were condemned to death were sent to Germany to be executed.
Prisoners were held here while waiting to be executed.
This is one of only three photos that exists of the executions.
Flowers mark the site of execution posts in the center of the photo
Trucks carrying bodies for burial left through this gate.

Entrance with bas relief sculptures and eternal flame

After the war, General de Gaulle designated the site as a war memorial. 
The names of all who died here are inscribed according to date of execution

The presence of those who perished here weighs heavily on all who visit.

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