In 1987, the Klaus Barbie trial in Lyon brought together several historic figures from the Izieu home more than 40 years after the events there: Sabine Zlatin, who founded the home in 1943; Pierre-Marcel Wiltzer, former vice-prefect of Belley; Gabrielle Tardy (maiden name Perrier), teacher at the home; Léon Reifman, physician; Paulette Pallarés, who helped the over the summer of 1943; and some of the former Izieu children (Paul Niedermann, Samuel Pintel, Hélène, Bernard and Adolphe Waysenson, etc.) or their families (Fortunée Benguigui, Alexandre and Ita-Rose Halaubrenner, etc.).
The association “Musée mémorial des enfants d’Izieu” was officially created on 4th March 1988.
In addition to Sabine Zlatin and Pierre-Marcel Wiltzer, its first Board of Directors included local elected officials and representatives of the French State, the “Office National des Anciens Combattants et Victimes de Guerres” [national veteran’s office] and the “Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France” [Jewish representative body].
The association’s goal was to open an educational memorial at the Izieu site.
In July 1990, with money from a national fund-raising campaign, the association purchased the house where the home had been located.
The French President, François Mitterrand, included a museum dedicated to the children of Izieu in his Presidential Major Projects.
A scientific committee was given the task of defining the museum’s orientations and content.
It brought together:
- Pierre Birnbaum, historian,
- Bernard Comte, historian,
- Philippe Joutard, university president,
- Robert Mériaudeau, geographer,
- Pierre Nora, historian,
- Henri Rousso, historian,
- Pierre Truche, public prosecutor,
- Hélène Waysbord, French national education inspector.
The historian Anne Grynberg was tasked with laying out the permanent exhibition and writing the accompanying texts.
On 24th April 1994, the French president François Mitterrand inaugurated the Musée mémorial des enfants d’Izieu.
Since 2000, the association has been known as the “Association de la Maison d’Izieu, mémorial des enfants juifs exterminés” [Association of the Maison d’Izieu, memorial to exterminated Jewish children].