Exhibition at the Vieux Port, Marseille in front of the restored Mairie (town hall), the only building remaining following the forced clearing and dynamiting of Marseille Old Quarters by the occupying German Nazis in the spring of 1943. This exhibition seeks to include more fully this sombre episode in the long history of Marseille; it gains peculiar power because the archive images are presented right where the atrocity took place. The 14 hectares of the city dynamited in 1943 have been rebuilt; but many, if not most, of the people who were taken away never returned. Also, there are no old trees in this area.
I was side-swiped when I happened upon this exhibition on the quayside at Marseille Vieux Port. As a news video editor, it was my job to show to the television audience many horrific pictures of the wars in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, footage gathered by brave people in Srebrenica, Mostar etc. One develops a professional detachment of necessity but consequently it has been upsetting to see images of the war crimes committed here in Marseille, the city where I have a home.
The archive image I find most extraordinary shows the planning of the atrocity from the transporter bridge that was itself dynamited by the occupying Nazis. Firstly that it happened and secondly that these people openly recorded their actions with photographs and newsreel.
The photos shown on the exhibition boards are from archives in Berlin and Marseille. The captions I quote are my translations of the captions of the exhibition,
Rafles, évacuations et destructions de 1943 : Marseille se souvient
Exhibition by the Musée d'Histoire de Marseille