The various remembrance architectural projects

The ash pit

At the end of the war the area at the bottom of the camp called the “ash pit” was preserved. At first it was the septic ditch of the barracks’ toilets, but as the death rate soared the SS also started dumping the deportees’ ashes there. When Struthof became a penitentiary, it was separated from the bottom of the camp by a fence. A cross and temporary marker were erected there. Then, as part of the plan to turn the camp into a place of remembrance, Bertrand Monnet created an “ash pit” with the inscription “Honour and Country, Ossa Humiliata”, as well as a Wall of Remembrance intended for commemorative plaques. During the ceremony of 23 July 1960, General de Gaulle bowed before the one bearing the inscription “Here lie the ashes of unknown martyrs, victims of the Nazis, 1944”. Afterwards, a number of plaques were affixed to the Wall of Remembrance, which became the main place to pay respects inside the camp.

The lantern of the dead

The lantern of the dead, which burns day and night, was inaugurated by Minister Jean Sainteny on 22 July 1964. It is located in the SS kitchen gardens, between the Ehret villa and the barbed wire fence, where the ashes were spread as fertilizer.

The sand quarry

In 1970 a plaque replaced a wooden monument at the sand quarry, a place of execution for the Strasbourg Gestapo. It bears the inscription “To the memory of resistance members of all nationalities and of the 17 young patriots from Ballersdorf and environs (Haut-Rhin) executed here by the Nazis between 1941 and 1944”.

The Reclining Figure

The executive board was behind the creation of a bronze statue by sculptor Georges Halbout placed at the camp entrance in 1973. Minister André Bord inaugurated the Reclining Figure on 24 June 1973, during the annual ceremony, as well as a plaque in the crematory barrack to the memory of the 33 members of the Alsace-Vosges mobile group massacred at the same time as the members of the Alliance network. The Reclining Figure depicts the skeletal body of a deportee lying on the ground. A replica was erected at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris at the centre of the Natzweiler-Struthof monument, inaugurated on 20 November 2004.

The plaque in homage to the four SOE women

On 22 June 1975 Prime Minister Jacques Chirac went to Struthof on the 30th anniversary of the camps’ Liberation. He unveiled a plaque next to the crematory oven in homage to four women in the SOE executed in the camp on the night of 6 July 1944.

The Lorraine Cross, homage to the deportation NN

On 24 June 1979 Maurice Plantier, junior minister in charge of veterans’ affairs and war victims, inaugurated a monument to the memory of those who died in the NN deportation. The marker surmounted by a Lorraine cross at the bottom of the camp in the centre of the first platform, which once housed the deportees’ barracks, bears the inscription “To the glory of the French resistance members who died or were executed in Nazi prisons”.

Place du Général Delestraint

22 June 1985: Jean Laurain, junior minister in charge of veterans’ affairs and war victims, inaugurated Place du Général Delestraint on the 40th anniversary of the camps’ liberation.