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History & Civilizations

1940 : parisian exodus

50 min visit

Musée de la Libération de Paris
2 Dec → 13 Dec 2020
From Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Monday

« The exhibition tells the brutal end of a well-organized society and reflects on the experience of refugees, from yesterday to today!  »

Spring 1940: from Belgium to Paris, eight million people flee on the roads to escape the advance of the German armies. With the first bombardments, nearly three-quarters of Parisians seize their most precious belongings and leave for the south or west of France in unimaginable chaos. A massive and unprecedented phenomenon, the exodus began. 80 years later, the Musée de la Libération in Paris looks back on this French and European tragedy. Throughout the journey, the archives gradually help us to understand the collective sense of urgency that ran through the population. Civil violence during the previous wars, defensive warfare that did not predict the arrival of the Germans, the brutality of the first attacks: each document goes back over the reasons that provoked their departure. Period photographs and films show the congested roads, direct testimonies tell the events, children's drawings go back a posteriori on their feelings. In this way, the exhibition pulls a thread and allows us to understand this singular collective experience and then, perhaps, the relief that grew on Pétain's arrival, seen as a possible return to order after the chaos.


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