A new house of remembrance for the Souvenir Français in Metz

A new house of remembrance for the Souvenir Français in Metz
A new house of remembrance for the Souvenir Français in Metz

A regional house of memory of the Souvenir Français will see the light of day in Metz, for the first time in France, which will serve as a place of study and transmission of combat memory.

Located in the former Saint Simon and Saint Juste presbytery, on the island in the Fort Moselle district, its mission will be towelcome the public, with a program of exhibitions, conferences or concerts. A room and time slots will be specifically reserved for school groups, and spaces provided for all activities of other memorial or patriotic associations.

The regional house has a garden at the back of the building. © Radio France
Natacha Kadur

History shared with Alsace-Lorraine

“It is totally unprecedented, exemplary and exceptional. It is the first regional house of memory created in France.” welcomes the general president of the Souvenir Français, Serge Barcellini.

The association has 25,000 members in the Grand Est, as many volunteers who honor the memory of those who died for France, French or foreign. Its reason for being since its creation in 1887, in the post-war period of 1870 marked by the loss of Alsace Moselle.

Serge Barcellini, president of the Souvenir Français, came to present the renovated premises this Wednesday in Metz. © Radio France
Natacha Kadur

So it is not no coincidence if it is in the Grand Est that the initiative was born: ” The Souvenir Français is first and foremost Alsace-Moselle. It is the monument of Noisseville and its instigator Jean-Pierre Jean. It is the Alsatian Niessen, who created the association. There is a shared history between the Souvenir Français and this region. recalls its general president.

The city of Metz did the rest, agreeing to sign a 30-year long lease to rent and renovate the 300m2 of this built heritage: “ It was one of those that we were considering selling to finance other projects, but given the initiative of the Souvenir Français, we did not hesitate. ” comments François Grosdidier, the mayor of Metz.

The house of the new generation

The regional house will be inaugurated on November 22, the day of the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Liberation from the city : ” This is a pivotal moment, which marks the total disappearance of those who were actors in History. You saw it on June 6! We showed a few old people sitting on chairs… A whole generation is disappearing. There are still a few who saw the Liberation, but on the 90th anniversary, there will be no one left. And if we have not understood the need to speak to the new generation, we are going to have problems.” warned Serge Barcellini.

The rehabilitation of the regional house was financed to the tune of 150,000 euros by the Grand Est Region and the same amount by the Moselle Department. © Radio France
Natacha Kadur

This is therefore the challenge of this place, which is both a place for exhibitions and a place to welcome associations, but above all, a place towards the education of the youngest : « It is giving ourselves the means to help teachers. This will allow teachers to go further, after having done their job as History teachers. They will be able to be welcomed here to extend their educational work. »

Five exhibitions in 2025

The renovated regional house was presented this Wednesday to all the delegates of the Souvenir Français in the Grand Est as well as to financiers from the Grand Est Region and the Moselle Department.

It will host four exhibitions by 2025 : the first dedicated to the companions of the Liberation, then to the prisoners of war, to the Righteous Among the Nations and finally to the war of 1870.

Designed to encourage all initiatives, the house will be able to accommodate book signings, lectures and concerts.

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