The tour of the History and Remembrance Centre of La Coupole includes three areas which pay tribute to the victims of the Nazi regime: the deportees and those killed by the firing squads. They are based on the results of research undertaken by La Coupole’s historians. The information they contain provides the answers to many of the questions posed by the families of these victims.
Memorial of the last “train from Loos”
This episode in the history of the German occupation of the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments recounts the last train from Loos prison, which left Tourcoing station on 1st September 1944 with almost 900 political prisoners and members of the Resistance on board. A memorial was unveiled in 2003 in one of the underground galleries of La Coupole, in the form of bronze plaques inscribed with the names of each of these men. As less than a third of them returned from the camps in 1945, the calamity of the “Train from Loos” remains a traumatic memory that has been passed down through the generations in this region of France. The simple design and peaceful atmosphere of this space is conducive to reflection and remembrance. A commemoration ceremony is held there each year.
Memorial to the 9,000 deportees to the Mittelbau-Dora camp from France
Unveiled in the André Sellier Space in 2016 upon the death of the historian, this Memorial (Mémorial des 9 000 déportés de France au camp de Mittelbau-Dora) takes the form of the symbolic installation of the book enumerating the 9,000 people deported from France to the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. This paper monument, the fruit of 15 years of research by La Coupole’s historians, and written by a team of volunteers, pays tribute to these 9,000 deportees who were put to forced labour in this place which incarnates the darkest page of the history of the space race. The book is prefaced by Aurélie Filippetti, former French Culture minister. Three of her family members were among the deportees whose stories are retold in this book, positioned in the centre of the “Pictures of Dora”. The main purpose of this space is to encourage people to reflect on the relationship between science and ethics.
Memorial to the people executed by the firing squads and the deportees of the Nord–Pas-de-Calais
La Coupole conducted an extensive survey from 2003 to 2006 to establish the number, identities and fates of the men and women who fell victim to repression by the occupying German forces, their police and those of the Vichy regime between 1940 and 1945. The names of almost 8,000 men and women (also children in the case of the Jews and Gypsies) are displayed one after the other on a screen.
The 1,300 portraits on the wall were obtained directly from the relatives of these victims thanks to research carried out in archives, museums, and libraries. Touchscreens are available to visitors, so they can read what happened to each of these victims from the time of their arrest to their death, or to their return from the camps.