Today after class, we visited The Center for the History of the Resistance and Deportation, which is just around the corner from campus. It is housed in the building once used for the military’s medical college and then commandeered by the Gestapo when Germany occupied the city.
Lyon was considered the most important city in “Free France” before the Occupation in 1942, and it became the hotbed of the Resistance. Various groups engaged in subterfuge, such as publishing underground newspapers, producing false papers so that people could change identities, transmitting coded messages, and hiding downed Allied airmen. Others used more military means, such as obtaining or smuggling weapons and engaging in guerrilla warfare. The Center is full of photographs, artifacts, and eyewitness accounts from the women and men who fought for Lyon, France, and the free world. It was a sobering and moving experience.