The monument at Père Lachaise

The Natzweiler-Struthof monument at Père-Lachaise Cemetery.


After the Liberation, a section of the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris was dedicated to the memory of the Deportation. In 1946 an urn containing ashes from Auschwitz-Birkenau was placed in a cenotaph. Little by little, a monument was erected for every camp. The one for Natzweiler was the last one built. It was inaugurated during an official ceremony on 20 November 2004.

The pink Voges granite monument’s shape recalls that of the triangle that the deportees had to wear. The bronze sculpture is a replica of the Reclining Figure that the artist Georges Halbout made for Natzweiler in 1973. It symbolises an emaciated deportee who died of exhaustion: extermination through work. The granite blocks stacked on the reclining figure’s right side symbolise the terraces that were hewn out of the mountainside to accommodate the camp’s infrastructure; those on the left side represent the many steps between them. The letters NN surrounded by a crown of stars – the symbol of Europe – recall that thousands of resistance members from throughout Europe were classified “NN” (Nacht und Nebel), destined to vanish without a trace in the Night and Fog.