Axis 2: Creation of a permanent exhibition about the Occupation

After passing through the reception-ticket office, visitors will start their visiting experience by the Carpentier building (from the name of its architect). They will discover a scenery explaining the historical context of the building

The objects will be highlighted and supported by narrative apparatus (physical or digital), thus enabling the visitors to fully immerse into the occupied Sainte-Mère-Eglise between May 1940 and June 1944, and to learn about the civilian life in this liberty deprivation context.

This building will also house 2 rooms allowing the mediators to welcome the guided visit groups.

The scenography will be articulated in 3 sequences:

Sequence 1: German occupation

  • Starting from July 1940, the Germans take control of the peaceful Sainte-Mère-Eglise county, where they brutally impose a restrictive policy based on military and administrative control, thus completely turning the civilians’ everyday life upside down. This power relationship is illustrated by a constant oppression on the civilians. Isolated by this takeover, Sainte-Mère-Eglise then falls in the shadows and life is punctuated by curfews and the noise of the german troops’ boots. By creating a severe mood, the scenography will conjure the fear, the restraint, and the restriction installed by the Germans.

Sequence 2: Civilian life

  • After such a brutal break, life is reset for the locals during these four years of occupation. Starting from 1942, some of them are requested for forced work to contribute to the german war effort. The boldest of them would avoid this, thus risking deportation. Under german yoke, new behaviours appear among the oppressed civilians: adjustment, detachment, rejection and resistance. With more or less disobedience, this forced cooperation will be told through the numerous objects and personal effects bearing witness of this.

Sequence 3: Organized resistance

  • The requisitions, the defeats of Germany, the rumors of an allied landing, the worsening of the german repression at the end of 1943 and beginning of 1944 raises an increasing rejection of german domination among civilians. They commit more intensely in the Resistance by doubling down on the strategic sabotage and destruction acts, and by becoming a real communication network enabling the allied landing.

By paying homage to their courage and their audacity, the scenery will translate the hope and the determination that fuelled the resistants, true staples of the liberation.

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