Commonly known as “the house of Izieu”, the building is located in the hamlet of Lélinaz in the commune of Izieu.
In 1835, this large “master house” already had a long terrace and a vast garden that included an orchard and a pond for raising fish. Next to it is a farm with barns, a silkworm farm and its oven.
Before 1939, the owners of the “Villa Anne-Marie” rented their house in summer to vacation camps, through the intermediary of the bishopric of Belley. The comfort was rudimentary since the house had neither running water nor a bathroom.
The spring water from the pond was used for washing and daily chores. In winter, heating was provided by wood stoves.
In 1943-1944, the house hosted the colony of refugee children from the Hérault.
After the 1950s, the house was occupied by private individuals, who sold it to the “Musée-mémorial d’Izieu” association in 1990.
Today, the house is a place of remembrance dedicated to the 44 children and 7 adults deported on April 6, 1944.
Rather than reconstructing the house exactly, the museography instead evokes the atmosphere of the home’s era and the void left behind by the deported children.
In this way, the house portrays the children’s daily life. Discreet signs indicate how each room was used; the children’s letters and drawings are displayed in the refectory; a portrait of each child who was arrested on 6 April 1944, and then deported, features in the dormitories.
Plaques on the façade of the house
In 1946, during the commemoration of 7 April, a first plaque was put on the right hand side of the house. It is a reminder of the history of the roundup and how the children and their carers were deported. It lists the name and age of each of the deported children and adults:
« Le 6 avril 1944, jour du Jeudi Saint, 44 enfants de la Maison d’Izieu étaient arrêtés par les Allemands, avec leurs maîtres, puis déportés le 15 avril 1944. Quarante-et-un enfants et cinq de leurs maîtres furent exterminés dans les chambres à gaz d’Auschwitz. Le directeur de la colonie et deux garçons furent fusillés dans la forteresse de Revel. »
“On 6 April 1944, on Maundy Thursday, 44 children from the Maison d’Izieu were arrested by the Germans, with their educators, and then deported on 15 April 1944. Forty-one children and five of their educators were killed in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. The director of the home and two boys were shot in Reval castle.”
Fritz Loebman’s name was added to the plaque at the inauguration of the Izieu Memorial Museum in 1994, which had been omitted in 1946.
The names of the deported children and adults are read in front of this plaque for the commemorations in April.
In 1990, after the house was purchased by the association, Sabine Zlatin decided to put up a second plaque to the left of the main entrance.
The text engraved on it talks about the history of the site and life in the home before the roundup:
« Ici, sous le nom de « colonie d’enfants réfugiés de l’Hérault », Sabine Zlatin, infirmière de la Croix-Rouge, assistante sociale de l’Hérault, et Miron Zlatin, ingénieur agronome, ont fondé le 10 avril 1943, la « Maison d’Izieu » pour y recueillir des enfants juifs. »
“Here, under the name of “the Hérault Refugee Children’s Home”, Sabine Zlatin, a Red Cross nurse and social worker from Hérault, and Miron Zlatin, an agricultural engineer, founded the “Maison d’Izieu” on 10 April 1943 to take in Jewish children.”
In 1994, a third plaque was put up between the two doors of the house. It commemorates the inauguration of the memorial by François Mitterrand, President of the Republic, on Sunday 24 April 1994.