Paris Stories: Two
by Diana Rosen
On our way to somewhere else, noon time
Gregorian chants draw us into Notre Dame
another mystical moment possible only when
you leave the guidebook in your hotel room.
We light candles, “just in case,” then visit
Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation
the cryptically named homage to 200,000
martyrs deported from Vichy France
to the Camps of Cruelty to The Other.
It’s silent, somber, as stark and simple
as a shroud. Stepping down the narrow
hallways, we find irony everywhere:
in the chilling floor plaque:
“They descended into the mouth
of the earth and they did not return”
in the land under the monument:
that once supported a morgue
in the exit sign:
“Forgive But Never Forget”
in the names of those camp, but
no mention of who was sent there:
not the Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses,
political dissidents, the disabled,
homosexuals, Resistance fighters,
PHOTO: Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation (Paris, France).
NOTE: The Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation (English: “Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation”) is a memorial to the 200,000 people who were deported from Vichy France to the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. It is located in Paris, France, on the site of a former morgue, underground behind Notre Dame on Île de la Cité. Designed by French modernist architect Georges-Henri Pingusson, it was inaugurated in 1962 by the President of France, Charles de Gaulle.
PHOTO: Interior, Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation. Photo by Morbilli, used by permission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diana Rosen is a poet/essayist/flash fiction writer with credits in Tiferet Journal, RATTLE, Existere Journal of Arts & Literature, among more than 70 publications in Canada, the UK, Australia, and the U.S. She is also the author of 13 nonfiction books on food, beverage, and lifestyle topics in the U.S. Find more of her work at authory.com.