80th anniversary of the Liberation: the Aube Resistance Museum is quite a story!

80th anniversary of the Liberation: the Aube Resistance Museum is quite a story!
80th anniversary of the Liberation: the Aube Resistance Museum is quite a story!

A little less than a thousand inhabitants, a stone’s throw from the vineyards, the forests and the Côte-d’Or: welcome to Mussy-sur-Seine, a small town of character with an eventful medieval past, its remains of ramparts , its 13th century collegiate church… and, more recently, its resistant past illustrated by the resistance of the French Forces of the Interior created clandestinely in June 1944 in the forest massif of Mussy-Grancey.

“We call it the Montcalm maquis, from the nom de guerre of its leader, Colonel Emile Alagiraude, a career soldier. The very dense forest allowed for a rather discreet installation at first,” explains Sarah Hacquart, head of public services at the Musée de la Résistance de l’Aube. On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Liberation, the Resistance Museum intends to bring all these memories to life by multiplying the events, starting with the Night of the Museums this Saturday, May 18.

On August 2, 1944, the site, which then hosted 1,200 resistance fighters, was attacked by the Germans after being spotted by the Gestapo. Warned by a liaison officer, who came from Bar-sur-Aube by bicycle, the resistance fighters were fortunately able to defend themselves. “This bike is currently at the Musée de la Résistance de l’Aube, because the owner’s family donated it to us,” says Sarah.

The fight was heroic. Inexperienced, the French valiantly withstood the shock against enemies six times more numerous, ultimately losing around fifty men despite the numerical and material superiority of the Germans. “They played the role that General de Gaulle and Jean Moulin had asked of the resistance: to slow down and weaken the German army,” recalls the guide-lecturer.

“The maquis dispersed on August 3 on the orders of Emile Alagiraude so as not to have to face the expected German reinforcements. They set out again on August 19 to accompany the Allies in the Liberation of Aube, and in particular of Troyes, from August 25. » A beautiful story that the resistance fighters themselves wanted to share through a very small museum created in the heart of the village of Mussy in 1971.

This museum itself has a history: the conservation conditions quickly became completely unsuitable for preserving the precious memories of this period. “And this museum shined much less than what the history of these resistance fighters deserved,” recognizes Sarah Hacquart. Thanks to the donation of an individual’s house right next to the site, an expansion and complete renovation could be envisaged around a real scientific and cultural project. A long-term effort which culminated in 2022.

“We had to preserve the spirit that the resistance fighters had wanted to instill in this museum, while making it more modern and accessible. » The route has therefore been redesigned in three different rooms with clearly identified themes: entry into war and commitment to the resistance, life in the maquis, and the consequences of commitment to the resistance for the soldiers themselves and populations.

In addition to the famous bicycle, precious testimonies of the time remain in these places, such as the swastikas which had replaced, at the time, the tricolor flags, the requisition bags at the origin of rationing, “because the conditions of “The armistice required us to provide for the needs of the German army with approximately 15% of our production,” explains Sarah.

Without forgetting the outfit of Aube resistance fighter Hubert Danesini, who died in 2019 at the age of 102, and who regularly testified in schools, commemorative ceremonies or even in the press about his commitment at the time. The highlight of the visit is the Creney execution posts, on which four Aube resistance fighters were killed in February 1944.

A Liberation ball on August 31

In this year of the 80th anniversary of the Liberation, the museum has innovated. “We have in our possession the drawings of Hubert Prillieux, an Aube resistance fighter from the Rigny-la-Nonneuse maquis, who was locked up for several weeks in the old prison on rue Hennequin in Troyes,” says Sarah Hacquart. Shot in Creney, this artist at heart had drawn a lot during his detention, imagining his future life with his wife in several countries around the world.

“We prepared a video where our voices tell what Hubert Prillieux might have had in his head at the time he was drawing,” explains the guide. Other events are expected during this year like no other, including a Liberation ball with tricolor flags, period outfits and music on August 31. A beautiful tribute which should attract many visitors.

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