The Maison d’Izieu, Memorial to the Exterminated Jewish Children
A place of remembrance, education and life in order to understand crimes against humanity and to act against all forms of discrimination.
Located in the south of Bugey, only 35 minutes from Chambéry and 1 hour from Lyon, Bourg-en-Bresse, Grenoble or Annecy, the Maison d’Izieu is a unique place that makes a complex contemporary history accessible to all: the Shoah in France during the Second World War; the birth of an international justice system and how it has functioned up to the present day; the construction of a memory of crimes against humanity.
Today, it is a place of welcome and vigilance that intends to deliver a universal message and act against all forms of intolerance and racism.
Its history in a few words…
The Maison d’Izieu, opened by Sabine and Miron Zlatin, welcomed more than a hundred Jewish children from May 1943 to April 1944 to help them escape anti-Semitic persecution.
On the morning of 6 April 1944, the 44 children and 7 educators who were there were rounded up and deported under Klaus Barbie’s orders, one of the leaders of the Lyon Gestapo.
With the exception of two teenagers and Miron Zlatin, who were shot in Reval (now Tallinn) in Estonia, the rest of the group was deported to Auschwitz. Only one adult returned, Lea Feldblum, and all the others were gassed as soon as they arrived.
Tracked down and brought back to France by Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, with help from two of the mothers of the children who were rounded up in Izieu, Fortunée Benguigui and Ita-Rosa Halaunbrenner, Klaus Barbie was brought before the French courts. With many witnesses coming forward, he was tried and sentenced in Lyon in 1987 for crimes against humanity. This trial firmly etched the Izieu roundup into the foundation of French remembrance.
The day after this trial, in March 1988, the “Memorial Museum of the Children of Izieu” association was formed based on Sabine Zlatin.
Since the decree of the President of the Republic of 3 February 1993, the Maison d’Izieu, together with the former Vélodrome d’Hiver and the former Gurs internment camp, has been one of three places dedicated to the national remembrance of the victims of racist and anti-semitic persecutions and crimes against humanity, that were committed with the complicity of the Vichy government known as the “French State Government” (1940-1944).
The site is protected and included in the additional list of historical monuments in 1991 thanks to national public fundraising.
As part of the Grand Travaux programme by the President of the Republic, the memorial of the Maison d’Izieu was inaugurated on 24 April 1994 by President François Mitterrand.
In 2015, the Sabine and Miron Zlatin building was created, the Maison d’Izieu’s permanent exhibition was redesigned and new digital devices were developed. It was inaugurated on 6 April 2015 by President François Hollande.
The Maison d’Izieu received:
– The Ain Business Trophy in the category “Tourism and Heritage 2019”; by Aintourisme and the Ain department
– The Louis Blum 2019 Prize by the CRIF Grenoble-Dauphiné and the gold medal of the city of Grenoble