The Shoah Memorial – An Educational Museum About The French Jews

The atrocities and crimes committed during the Second World War of the early 20th century have marked the annals of World History. The most remembered of all these is the Jewish persecution rampant throughout Europe during this time. Many sites throughout the continent have been dedicated to remembering the harrowing experienced by the Jewish people.

A museum and testament to the Jewish people, the Shoah Memorial in Paris, France, is one of the sites that people worldwide could visit to educate themselves on the history and experiences of French Jews who were besieged during World War II.

About the Shoah Memorial

The Shoah Memorial is located in Le Marais, Paris. In this area of Paris, during the early half of the 20th century, many of the city’s population were French Jews. The memorial also served as a Holocaust museum and was opened to the public on January 27, 2005, by Jacques Chirac – The French President.

The opening date was chosen specially to correspond with the International day for Holocaust Remembrance along with the 60th year of celebration commemorating the freedom of the Jews who were imprisioned in the notorious concentration camp in Auschwitz.  The memorial was renovated in 2005 in order to include a reading and multimedia room along with several exhibition spaces.

The Forecourt and Exhibition Rooms

The forecourt is where the visitors are greeted first. From its vantage point,  a circular monument naming the list of the camps and Warsaw Ghetto could be spotted above the memorial crypt. From here, the entrance also highlights a wall lined with 7 bas-reliefs that Arbit Blatas designed, which were meant to symbolize the oppression of Jews in the concentration camps.

The memorial is home to a multimedia learning center, bookstore, documentation centers, and an auditorium. However, the main focus of the place would be the Holocaust’ museum’s permanent exhibit. The exhibit presents a documented narrative of the experiences of the French Jews during World War II. The visitors would be able to view texts and photographs, watch videos, and listen to audio recordings given by survivors and their families.

The Memorial Crypt and the Walls

Before the Shoah memorial was established, its current address was previously the sole home of the crypt. It is the resting place of numerous Jewish victims of the various concentration camps. In 1957, their ashen remains were entombed beneath dirt imported from the heart of Israel. The memorial crypt also houses an actual door taken from the Ghetto in Warsaw along with the notorious “Jewish Files” compiled by the government to track down and deport identified Jews.

The memorial is also the site of two walls bearing significant names. The first is the Wall of Names which forms several passageways of the museum and lists the approximately 76,500 French Jews who were sent back and killed by the Nazi regime. The other is called the Wall of the Righteous, where the names people who are not jews, a number of approximately 3,300 French citizens by 2014, who saved the Jews during World War II are recognized.

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